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“Cities Lose Out on Road Funds From Federal Stimulus,” - The New York Times
Two-thirds of the country lives in large metropolitan areas, home to the nation’s worst traffic jams and some of its oldest roads and bridges. But cities and their surrounding regions are getting far less than two-thirds of federal transportation stimulus money.
According to an analysis by The New York Times of 5,274 transportation projects approved so far — the most complete look yet at how states plan to spend their stimulus money — the 100 largest metropolitan areas are getting less than half the money from the biggest pot of transportation stimulus money. In many cases, they have lost a tug of war with state lawmakers that urban advocates say could hurt the nation’s economic engines.
“Economic toll of obesity and inactivity exceeds $41 billion in California,” - Oakland Tribune
An overweight man walks the streets of Washington Tuesday, July 22, 2003. The political debate on fat has spilled over into public policy, with proposals for a junk-food tax, limits on food advertising, demands for more details on labeling and lawsuits against food manufacturers. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds) The excess weight and inactive habits of many Californians don’t only exact a personal toll, they’re saddling businesses and taxpayers with more than $41 billion in annual costs, according to a report released today.
“We think mostly about the health implications,” said Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, speaking of the 59 percent of Californians who are obese or overweight, and the 48 percent who are physically inactive
“Lawmakers, businesses jockey for ‘green’ jobs,” – MSNBC.COM
ELKHART, Ind.— In the empty factories and laid-off workers in this struggling section of the Rust Belt, entrepreneur Wil Cashen sees “unimaginable potential.”
Seeking to capitalize on the trend toward more-energy-efficient vehicles, Cashen has a plan to retrofit pickup trucks with electric motors at several of Elkhart County’s large, dormant manufacturing facilities and sell them to utility companies.
Poverty elimination requires specific, measurable plans and policies.
The thought of creating asset-building opportunities for families and individuals living in extreme poverty might sound ridiculous to many people. Build assets? How can someone save money or protect their assets when they don’t have enough money to pay for their immediate needs? What good is saving for the future when you can’t get by today?
Unfortunately, this kind of thinking forces individuals living in extreme poverty to continue struggling to get by day after day. Without asset-building programs and policies geared toward individuals living in extreme poverty, many people are denied the economic rights to access the necessary tools and resources to create a better future. Helping individuals and families in extreme poverty build assets might not make them wealthy, but it gives them a sense of hope for the future and supports them as they strive to get ahead.
Programs and policies that promote asset building for those living in poverty follow three basic categories for understanding human rights: protect, respect, and fulfill. Regulations to eliminate predatory lending and usury, such as high-interest payday loans, help protect individual’s assets at times when then need access to capital for temporary emergencies. These regulations, in other words, protect individual’s economic rights. Programs providing lowt-s-cost, mainstream financial services for those living in poverty respect individuals’ economic constraints. Financial services like prepaid debit cards, small dollar loans, low-cost check cashing, and no-fee, small dollar savings accounts help respect the financial needs of individuals and families living in poverty. These kinds of services allow families living in poverty to participate in mainstream financial services, which are more affordable than alternative services like retail check cashers. In addition, providing access to mainstream financial services and creating matched savings or incentive payments into checking or savings accounts help fulfill the economic rights of those living in poverty by supporting them as they build assets and create a positive vision for their future.
It is important not to dismiss asset building when discussing individuals and families living in extreme poverty. Asset building programs and policies tailored for individuals and families living in extreme poverty can help them live more securely today, weather financial situations, and build for a better future, By integrating asset building plans and policies into the larger framework of poverty elimination, Illinois moves closer to guaranteeing human rights for all its residents.
For more information about the Illinois Asset Building Group, please go to www.illinoisassetbuilding.org .