Economy

Social Safety Net Programs and Asset Building Strategies: Can They Peacefully Coexist?

April 5, 2010

 Although by official estimates the state of the economy is improving, millions of Americans are still without jobs. While current unemployment figures are under 10% and some gains have been seen in a few economic sectors, the picture is not exactly rosy quite yet. If the number of individuals underemployed or working part-time but desiring full-time employment was considered, then the unemployment numbers would rise considerably.

Why 'Undercover Boss' Matters

  • By
  • Reihan Salam,
  • New America Foundation
April 5, 2010 |

When it first debuted after the Super Bowl XLIV, Undercover Boss drew over 38 million viewers, a staggering number in our increasingly fragmented culture. Since that first episode, the show has continued to garner ratings in the range of 13 million to 17 million viewers. A fairly big slice of the country is glued to the television every week as top executives at iconic American firms like Waste Management, Hooters and 7-11 go undercover to work alongside front-line employees.

Social Safety Net Programs and Asset Building Strategies: Can They Peacefully Coexist?

April 6, 2010

Although by official estimates the state of the economy is improving, millions of Americans are still without jobs. While current unemployment figures are under 10% and some gains have been seen in a few economic sectors, the picture is not exactly rosy quite yet. If the number of individuals underemployed or working part-time but desiring full-time employment was considered, then the unemployment numbers would rise considerably.

Welcome Tim Fernholz

March 30, 2010
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We are pleased to welcome Tim Fernholz into the fold of the New America Foundation. He joins us as a research fellow based in the Asset Building Program. Tim is also currently a staff writer for the American Prospect magazine and has been doing some of the best reporting around on the financial reform debates. He was a presenter at our consumer financial protection event in February, and has remained focused on this important and timely beat.

I was planning to fill this post with links to recent articles of his that would be of interest to readers of this blog, but then this morning I realized he had just posted a piece (A Wall Street Cheat Sheet) with all the links already embedded. This link will take you to a series of articles by Tim and his colleagues at TAP on the current legislative debate, the problem of too big to fail, the importance of consumer protection, alternative regulatory fixes, and the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. It is an impressive body of work. If you spend some time surfing through this material, I can guarantee you be more informed than many of the so-called experts.

He has an upcoming piece in the works which examines the issues of connecting underbanked households to financial services and some of the more interesting policy efforts underway to address this challenge. We’ll look forward to that as well as his reporting on the unfolding legislative process for financial reform.

You're Never Too Big to Fail

  • By
  • Reihan Salam,
  • New America Foundation
March 29, 2010 |

As the financial crisis fades into memory, no consensus has emerged on how things went so wrong. Some maintain that the Community Reinvestment Act and government-sponsored entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac set in motion the chain of events that ended in disaster. Others blame two decades of unrestrained financial innovation for undermining the institutional and cultural safeguards of the free market. And then, of course, there are those who believe that all or some or none of these things are true.

L.A. County -- The Biggest Loser

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
March 28, 2010 |

There are some contests where you don't want to finish first. Being the biggest loser of free federal tax refunds is one of them.

Yet Los Angeles County just notched that dubious distinction in a recent study of California's participation in the earned income tax credit, or EITC, a refund that gives a financial boost to people at the low end of the pay scale.

E-Donnybrook

  • By
  • Megan McArdle,
  • New America Foundation
March 28, 2010 |

Can it be a coincidence that J. D. Salinger died the same day the iPad was introduced? After all, Salinger belonged utterly to the era of typewriters and overflowing ashtrays and dog-eared paperbacks yellow with age. Perhaps he could not live long in a world where the Next Big Thing in publishing was not an author, but an electronic reading machine. Forget the literary giants who once traded barbs at Elaine’s or the Algonquin. Now the battle over the world’s literary territory, a contest on the epic scale of Mothra vs. Godzilla, is between Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad.

Holes in the Safety Net

  • By
  • Lauren Damme,
  • New America Foundation
March 24, 2010

The welfare reforms of 1996 replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) as the primary safety for the poor. But the Great Recession has exposed the failure of TANF as a safety net to catch American families as they experience hardship.

Toyotas Are Safe (Enough)

  • By
  • Robert Wright,
  • New America Foundation
March 3, 2010 |

Several months ago, a 63-year-old Harvard professor lost control of his 2005 Toyota Highlander, crashed into another car and died, along with two family members. Now the government is trying to decide whether Highlanders of this vintage are prone to sudden acceleration and should be added to the lengthy Toyota recall list.

I drive a 2005 Toyota Highlander, and ever since I read about the case of the 63-year-old Harvard professor, I’ve felt … well, nothing in particular. I mean, I’m sorry about the professor and his family, but I think this whole Toyota thing is overblown.

Programs:

The Manufacturing Credit System

  • By
  • Michael Lind,
  • New America Foundation
March 22, 2010

One of the greatest needs of U.S. manufacturing is access to sustained, adequate credit. The U.S. Farm Credit System provides a model for a new U.S. manufacturing credit system. The federal government should create up to a dozen regional manufacturing credit banks, modeled on the farm loan banks. Like the five banks of the federal farm credit system, each regional manufacturing bank would be a cooperative owned by banks and other credit institutions in its geographic region.

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