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Archive for the ‘low income’ tag

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Deficit Complicates Push on Jobs,” - The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON — Democratic leaders pressed President Barack Obama on Wednesday to extend more elements of the existing economic-stimulus package, and to possibly add tax cuts that were rejected the first time around, despite a record budget deficit that is giving some lawmakers pause.

On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal deficit for fiscal 2009 will be $1.4 trillion. That is somewhat better than the nearly $1.6 trillion the CBO projected in August, but much of the change stems from different accounting treatments for losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage companies the government took over last year.

Putting America’s Diet on a Diet,” - The New York Times

On his first day in Huntington, W. Va., Jamie Oliver spent the afternoon at Hillbilly Hot Dogs, pitching in to cook its signature 15-pound burger. That’s 10 pounds of meat, 5 pounds of custom-made bun, American cheese, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayo. Then he learned how to perfect the Home Wrecker, the eatery’s famous 15-inch, one-pound hot dog (boil first, then grill in butter). For the Home Wrecker Challenge, the dog gets 11 toppings, including chili sauce, jalapeños, liquid nacho cheese and coleslaw. Finish it in 12 minutes or less and you get a T-shirt.

So much for local color. Earlier that day, Oliver met with a pediatrician, James Bailes, and a pastor, Steve Willis. Bailes told him about an 8-year-old patient who was 80 pounds overweight and had developed Type 2 diabetes. If the child’s diet didn’t change, the doctor said, he wouldn’t live to see 30. Willis told Oliver that he visits patients in local hospitals several days a week and sees the effects of long-term obesity firsthand. Since he can’t write a prescription for their resulting illnesses, he said, all he can do is pray with them.

Universal healthcare coverage appears elusive,” - Los Angeles Times

As a key Senate committee prepares today to pass its plan to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system, senior Democrats are acknowledging that it may be impossible to provide coverage to all Americans — a central goal of President Obama and his congressional allies.

That is fueling growing alarm among hospitals and insurance companies, which have made universal coverage a condition of their support.

Written by Keith Forest

October 13th, 2009 at 9:29 pm

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Reducing poverty with the guidance of the poor,” - Philadelphia Inquirer

Never underestimate the power of an old blue sweater - even one with a cheesy design of two zebras in front of Mount Kilimanjaro. Maybe especially one with zebras and a mountain.

That very sweater launched Jacqueline Novogratz’s career as an international social investor, and it is the inspiration of her recently published book, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World (Rodale, $24.95).

States not meeting renewable energy goals,” - USA TODAY

Across the USA, states are falling short of their goals to increase the use of renewable energy as Congress weighs a national renewable-energy standard.

Thirty-five states have set goals to use more electricity from solar panels, windmills and other renewable forms of energy, according to a database funded by the Energy Department. There is no central clearinghouse of states’ compliance records, but USA TODAY research and interviews with state and power company officials found nine states that have failed or expect to fail to meet their energy goals.

A Better Way to Health Reform,” - The Washington Post

The American health-care system suffers from three serious problems: Health-care costs are rising much faster than our incomes. More than 15 percent of the population has neither private nor public insurance. And the high cost of health care can lead to personal bankruptcy, even for families that do have health insurance.

These faults persist despite annual federal government spending of more than $700 billion for Medicare and Medicaid as well as a federal tax subsidy of more than $220 billion for the purchase of employer-provided private health insurance.

Written by Keith Forest

October 9th, 2009 at 9:13 pm

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Detroit: The Death — and Possible Life — of a Great City,” - TIME MAGAZINE

If Detroit had been savaged by a hurricane and submerged by a ravenous flood, we’d know a lot more about it. If drought and carelessness had spread brush fires across the city, we’d see it on the evening news every night. Earthquake, tornadoes, you name it — if natural disaster had devastated the city that was once the living proof of American prosperity, the rest of the country might take notice. (See pictures of the remains of Detroit.)

But Detroit, once our fourth largest city, now 11th and slipping rapidly, has had no such luck. Its disaster has long been a slow unwinding that seemed to remove it from the rest of the country. Even the death rattle that in the past year emanated from its signature industry brought more attention to the auto executives than to the people of the city, who had for so long been victimized by their dreadful decision-making.

Geoffrey Canada’s initiative, Harlem Children’s Zone, has grown to reach 8,000 children across nearly 100 city blocks,” - The Christian Science Monitor

Geoffrey Canada still remembers the saddest day in his first nine years on earth. Back then, Mr. Canada clung to superheroes – and to Superman especially. He liked the guy, but he especially liked the idea he symbolized: immediate and dramatic salvation. In his earliest days, Superman was a social-justice hero, saving a man from a lynch mob, fighting fires, stopping robberies – rescuing people from the same kinds of dangers that seemed to lurk, in the 1960s, in Canada’s rough South Bronx neighborhood. Superman, Canada had decided, was just the guy to fix a neighborhood full of poverty and drugs, to rescue Canada and his friends, to bring a little optimism to the merciless streets.

A Brooklyn of Wealth and Needs Gets a Major Charity All Its Own,” - The New York Times

Brooklyn, which never fully recovered from merging with Manhattan and losing the Dodgers, is about to get new fuel to stoke its stubborn brand of local pride: It is now rich enough to support a major charity of its own.

The Independence Community Foundation, long the largest private charity based in the borough, is changing its tax status so it can raise money rather than simply rely on income from its roughly $50 million endowment.

Written by Keith Forest

September 29th, 2009 at 5:02 pm

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Neighborhoods Key to Future Income, Study Finds,” - Washington Post

Researchers have found that being raised in poor neighborhoods plays a major role in explaining why African American children from middle-income families are far more likely than white children to slip down the income ladder as adults.

The Pew Charitable Trusts Economic Mobility Project caused a stir two years ago by reporting that nearly half of African American children born to middle-class parents in the 1950s and ’60s had fallen to a lower economic status as adults, a rate of downward mobility far higher than that for whites.

Diversity the jewel reflected in Oakland’s lake,” - The San Francisco Chronicle

In Oakland, you just have to say “the Lake.” “Let’s meet at the Lake.” “Let’s walk around the Lake.” Let’s ride bikes, jog, or gossip about our co-workers. Around the Lake.

The Lake is of course Lake Merritt, sometimes described as the jewel of Oakland. While it is a jewel, showing off the city’s rolling green hills, serving as a sanctuary for migrating birds, ringed by the magical Necklace of Lights and now crowned by the breathtaking Cathedral of Christ the Light, it’s more than a jewel. It’s more like the city’s soul. It’s where you can see Oakland in all of her comfortable diversity that doesn’t even notice everyone seems to be from a different racial background.


 ”How a healthcare overhaul could affect you,” - Los Angeles Times
Lawmakers are considering options and costs for currently insured and uninsured Americans

Reporting from Washington — Here are some key questions regarding the effort to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system:

I have health insurance and I’m happy with it. Why does the nation need to overhaul healthcare?

Polls indicate that most Americans are satisfied with their coverage. But the White House and other advocates of overhauling healthcare say people are probably paying more for insurance each year. Premiums for employer-provided plans have risen four times faster than wages, and are now double their cost nine years ago. Deductibles are rising as well. Supporters of the legislation contend that healthcare costs are a drag on the economy.

Written by Keith Forest

July 27th, 2009 at 8:53 pm

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Transportation Bill Inches Forward,” - National League of Cities

The future of funding for federal surface transportation programs, due to expire on September 30, was muddled further last week when House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar announced that the House would act to adopt a short-term fix for the federal Highway Trust Fund but would not extend the programs due to expire.

Oberstar has said he would not extend the current program but instead gained support for a sweeping $500 billion six-year authorization bill adopted by a House subcommittee last month. However, the House panel charged with finding the funds to pay for the ambitious new surface transportation program has indicated that health care reform will be the next issue it tackles as the September 30 deadline draws closer. Both the Obama Administration and members of the House Ways and Means Committee have indicated they oppose any increased taxes to fund transportation at this time. 

At Wal-Mart, Labeling to Reflect Green Intent,” - The New York Times

Shoppers expect the tags on Wal-Mart items to have rock-bottom prices. In the future they may also have information about the product’s carbon footprint, the gallons of water used to create it, and the air pollution left in its wake.

As the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores is on a mission to determine the social and environmental impact of every item it puts on its shelves. And it has recruited scholars, suppliers, and environmental groups to help it create an electronic indexing system to do that.

Foreclosures up: 1 in 84 homes affected in first half of year,”  - USA TODAY

Foreclosures are continuing to set records despite the Obama administration’s $75 billion plan to help borrowers at risk of losing their homes.

There were 1.9 million foreclosure filings in the first six months of this year, a 15% increase from the first six months of 2008, according to a report today from RealtyTrac. One in 84 homes

Written by Keith Forest

July 16th, 2009 at 7:13 pm

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City Neighborhoods Dig In to Protect Fragile Gains,” -  The Wall Street Journal

PHILADELPHIA — This year, Margaret Shepherd is knocking on the front door of nearly every house in West Oak Lane. Her daily rounds are part of a large-scale effort to stem foreclosures in this blue-collar, largely African-American neighborhood.

“I’m getting so much exercise, it’s ridiculous,” Ms. Shepherd said on a recent afternoon.

Stimulus spending finally starts to trickle down,” - USA TODAY

In Indianapolis last month, a state government official named Jacob Sipe finally got the news he’d been anticipating. The U.S. Treasury had approved $164 million to finance affordable housing projects left paralyzed by the credit crisis, using funds from the Obama administration’s increasingly controversial fiscal stimulus.

Before the financial crisis erupted, the housing program was funded via state tax credits that developers in turn sold to large banks. With the banks crippled, demand for the tax credits — and thus the funds that subsidized the state’s low-cost housing — evaporated.

Written by Keith Forest

July 14th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

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White House to Push Forward on National Urban Policy Agenda,” - Washington Post
Administration to Host Daylong Talks Tomorrow; Tour of U.S. Cities Planned

After remaining out of the public eye since its creation in February, the White House Office of Urban Affairs plans on Monday to launch a public conversation to create a national urban policy agenda, said Adolfo Carrión Jr., its director.

The White House will host a daylong urban policy discussion including mayors, county executives, governors, urban policy experts, and heads of various agencies, Carrión said in a telephone interview yesterday.

DOCTOR IS IN: Childhood obesity bigger than a weight issue,” - Atlanta Journal Constitution

Medical Director, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Child Wellness and Medical Director, Georgia Children’s Health Alliance.

Childhood obesity is a problem throughout America, but it’s an epidemic in Georgia, where approximately 37 percent of children ages 10 to 17 are overweight or obese.

 ”Groups seek stimulus funds for homeowners and job training,” - Los Angeles Times
An assembly at Wilshire Boulevard Temple presses city officials to allocate money where it’s most needed.

Hundreds of delegates from Los Angeles-area religious, labor and community organizations gathered Sunday at Wilshire Boulevard Temple to propose that federal stimulus funds go toward helping homeowners avoid foreclosure and improving job training programs.

The two-hour assembly organized by One LA-IAF, a network of congregations, schools, unions and other groups, was designed to press local political leaders to spend the federal money on issues that the organization considers the most pressing. Several City Council members attended the event.

Written by Keith Forest

July 13th, 2009 at 6:03 pm

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Daily equity news.

SCLC renews poverty campaign before small crowd,” - Associated Press

Can’t Stop Eating?” - The Washington Post
For Some People, Obesity Is Not a Simple Failure of Self-Control

Foundations Trim Staffs After Assets Slide Lower,” -  The New York Times

Written by Keith Forest

June 23rd, 2009 at 3:13 pm

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Foreclosures grind on as lenders fail to modify loans,” -  USA TODAY

  “Obama’s Health Care Claims,” - Newsweek
He says the uninsured cost the rest of U.S. families $1,000 a year.

New York City consumers keep it simple,” - AM NewYork

Written by Keith Forest

June 19th, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Did you miss these? (May 16, 2009)

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This week’s updates on equity news. 

 ”For Victims of Recession, Patchwork State Aid,” - The New York Times

WASHINGTON — As millions of people seek government aid, many for the first time, they are finding it dispensed American style: through a jumble of disconnected programs that reach some and reject others, often for reasons of geography or chance rather than differences in need.

Health care, housing, food stamps and cash — each forms a separate bureaucratic world, and their dictates often collide. State differences make the patchwork more pronounced, and random foibles can intervene, like a computer debacle in Colorado that made it harder to get food stamps and Medicaid.


New York City is famous for innumerable gut-busting culinary delights enjoyed at delis, street carts and restaurants – though not as much for veggie-laden meals prepared at home. But a host of new proposals aimed at improving city residents’ access to healthy food could take a bite out of the city’s high-calorie culture.

The city is widely expected to soon introduce new zoning and financial incentives aimed at encouraging supermarket development in neighborhoods with few grocery stores. The Department of City Planning last week would confirm only that the city is working toward announcing the details of the plan – but details have been emerging.

Cities Cry Foul on Stimulus Cash,” - The Wall Street Journal

As he unveiled his proposed budget earlier this month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg threw in a comment about the dollars that got away.

While the city stands to collect more than $2 billion of federal stimulus money over three years to help pay Medicaid costs, “we’re getting a half billion less than Congress was intending to give us,” said Mr. Bloomberg, an independent.