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Asset Building News Week, August 18-22

August 22, 2014
Publication Image The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include inequality, food security, savings, and employment.

The U.S. Economy After The Great Recession

  • By
  • Sherle R. Schwenninger,
  • Samuel Sherraden,
  • New America Foundation
March 4, 2014
The bursting of the housing bubble in 2008 plunged the U.S. economy into a serious crisis, leaving American households with a huge debt overhang and the economy with a large gap in output and employment. This report reviews the economy’s deleveraging and recovery experience more than five years after the crash. It explores the following questions:  
  • How far has the economy come in the deleveraging process? Is private sector debt now at a sustainable level or do households and the financial sector continue to need to pay down debt?  
  • To what extent has the U.S.

Can Tax Policy Live Up to Its New Role in the Fight Against Poverty?

January 28, 2014
Publication Image Last, week, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center hosted a half-day event on the role tax policy has played in efforts to fight poverty since the declaration of the War on Poverty. The panelists agreed that the role of tax policy has changed drastically since the 1960s. The trend is clear: tax policy is making up a greater share of anti-poverty programs compared to direct spending programs. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit, for example, are now among the biggest anti-poverty programs in terms of cost to the federal government.

Asset Building News Week, January 13-17

January 17, 2014
Publication Image The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include financial services, employment, and public assistance.

Forget The Wealth Effect: It’s Time to Focus on The Income Effect to Understand the Sluggish Economy

October 1, 2013

by Peter W. Atwater

The “wealth effect” concept is remarkably simple: spending increases (decreases) as perceived wealth increases (decreases). When people perceive themselves to be richer, they spend more.

With the prices of stocks and bonds near all-time highs and home prices on the rebound, consumer spending should be on a tear. But it’s not -- much to the consternation of many economists, particularly those at the Federal Reserve. As a result, many believe the wealth effect is somehow broken.

Syllabus: Week of July 29, 2013

August 2, 2013
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Welcome to the Syllabus, a guide that provides insight into what’s happening in higher education.
Dan Berrett, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Are seminars the remedy to freshman dropout rates? According to advocates, seminars can keep students engaged and enrolled. To better understand the freshman seminar, a Chronicle reporter visited the University of Richmond and attended six classroom sessions of three seminars and wrote about the experience. At Richmond, all freshmen are required to take a “First-Year Seminar” in each of their first two semesters. This seminar articulates a common set of learning goals, such as, improving student’s skills in writing, speaking, and critical thinking. Seminars can be an effective method of instruction and counseling as there tends to be a low student-to-faculty ratio. Although this can be a desirable classroom experience for students, it is yet to be determined if it’s the best method.
Cory Weinberg, The Chronicle of Higher Education
On Thursday July 25th, North Carolina passed HB 589, which prohibited the use of college IDs as a valid form of identification at voting polls. The Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly argued this is one way to combat voter fraud, while Democrats believe it clearly targes student voters, who tend to vote largely Democratic.
Critics of the new bill argue college students often have permanent residences out of the state or they do not have a North Carolina driver’s license. In addition, college students are also more mobile. “They have to register more often, so students are often at the front lines of those decisions even when its not intentional,” according to Justin Levitt, an associate professor of law at Loyola Marymount University’s law school, in Los Angeles.
Lauren Ingeno, Inside Higher Ed
Many students enter law school with the intention of securing a job in the legal field and high salaries upon graduation. Unfortunately for graduates from 2006 to 2010, this was not often the case. On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Sixth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit brought forward by 12 former Thomas M. Cooley Law School students. The plaintiffs alleged Cooley misrepresented the percentage of graduates who obtained employment in legal fields after graduation and the average starting salaries for those jobs. The court said the suit’s interpretations of employment statistics were not proof that the figures were untrue.
Cooley has one of the lowest admissions standards of any accredited law school in the country, according to the U.S. News & World Report. Jesse Strauss, the attorney who filed the plaintiff’s case stated that although he was disappointed by the outcome they, “Wanted to alert potential law students that getting a degree from a place like Cooley is not a good idea.” This year the American Bar Association has imposed stricter standards for law school employment and salary data reporting.

Deception in Counting the Unemployed

  • By
  • Steven Clemons,
  • New America Foundation
July 20, 2013 |

"If the Recession Were a Bout of the Flu..."

July 23, 2013
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Obama is on the road this week to make a series of speeches across the country about the state of the economy and the American middle class. As Gigi Douban for Marketplace reports, many people have doubts that the President can do much of anything about the economy, due in part to the opposition he faces from Congressional Republicans.

Even if Congress and the President were working together in perfect harmony on this issue, the reality is that the economy is in a pretty bad way. As Heidi Shierholz with the Economic Policy Institute explains, we're technically four years post-Recession, but only "a fifth of the way out of the hole left by the Great Recession"  when one compares the share of the working-age population who has a job today compared with pre-recession. My colleague Rachel Black was quoted in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constituion in a similar vein:  “The recession made a big hole and it’s going to take a long time to fill it."

While I think the "hole" analogy is perfectly capable of encapsulating the severity of the Recession, Colin Gordon (a professor of history at the University of Iowa) has an effective and illustrative analogy about the Great Recession that I think adds a little something extra. As Gordon writes in a recent Dissent Magazine piece, "If the recession were a bout of the flu, we would be at about that point where the fever has broken—but we still feel like throwing up most of the time."

Financial Inclusion and Access within the Latino Immigrant Community

June 4, 2013

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) hosted an event today to release “Latino Financial Access and Inclusion," a new report that examines the relationship between comprehensive immigration reform and household financial stability for U.S. Latinos. At the event, experts from NCLR, Citi, the American Bankers Association, and a Chicago-based organization, The Resurrection Project, explored the report's findings on financial inclusion within the Latino immigrant community. The report analyzes data from a survey of roughly 1,000 low-income Latino-identified individuals across California during 2012.

Janet Murguía, President of NCLR, began the event by discussing the historical exclusion Latino immigrants have faced in the mainstream financial services marketplace. Despite myriad barriers to accessing financial services and some significant economic challenges, this report found that Latino consumers were actively prioritizing saving, utilizing a range of financial products to meet their needs, and displaying savvy engagement with financial service providers.

The report also builds the case for comprehensive immigration reform and ensuring a path to citizenship by demonstrating the variance in financial stability and engagement by citizenship status. For example, among immigrants who had been in the U.S. the same amount of time, naturalized citizens were more likely to be engaged in the mainstream financial services sector than their non-citizen counterparts. As Murguía put it, U.S. citizenship opens the doors to not only better job opportunities and education, but also greater financial inclusion. When combined, these resources create a path to upward economic and social mobility. Thus, the report explicitly frames citizenship status as an asset and calls for the current immigration reform conversation to better reflect the economic needs and opportunities of the Latino immigrant community.

Asset Building News Week, May 20-24

May 24, 2013
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include public benefits, poverty, housing, and unemployment.

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