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Financial Inclusion

State of the Union: What about SNAP?

January 25, 2012
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It’s unsurprising that the program formerly known as food stamps, currently the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, didn’t receive a mention at last night’s State of the Union address. The policies the President discussed outlined an aspirational portrait of where the country should be and the changes he believes are necessary to achieving that vision. At a time when over 46 million people are on SNAP to meet their most basic of needs, putting food on the table, it could be an uncomfortable reminder of the distance between where we are and where he’d have us be.

Ideas for Refining Children's Savings Account Proposals

  • By
  • William Elliott,
  • New America Foundation
January 26, 2012

“Creating a Financial Stake in College” is a four-part series of reports that focuses on the relationship between children’s savings and improving college success. This series examines: (1) why policymakers should care about savings, (2) the relationship between inequality and bank account ownership, (3) the connections between savings and college attendance, and (4) recommendations to refine children’s savings account proposals.

Tax Time 2012: The Importance of the EITC

January 24, 2012

As noted by Hannah Emple on Friday, Tax Time 2012 is here. Every year brings some degree of change to the Tax Time process.

Asset Building News Week, 3rd Edition

January 20, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on the 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 taxes, the housing crisis, prepaid cards, public benefits reform, prize linked savings, economic mobility and inequality, and education.

We Save, We Go to College

  • By
  • William Elliott,
  • New America Foundation
January 19, 2012

“Creating a Financial Stake in College” is a four-part series of reports that focuses on the relationship between children’s savings and improving college success. This series examines: (1) why policymakers should care about savings, (2) the relationship between inequality and bank account ownership, (3) the connections between savings and college attendance, and (4) recommendations to refine children’s savings account proposals.

Asset Building News Week, 2nd Edition

January 12, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on the 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 food assistance, tax issues, the health-wealth connection, alternatives to banking and the prepaid card industry, and the mortgage crisis. 

A Savings Account at the Post Office?

January 12, 2012
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Sheldon Garon, who was our guest at a recent discussion of his new book "Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves" has a very interesting piece up on CNN.com that centers on his call to support small dollar savings in the United States by establishing a system of postal savings banks (a common and effective institution in the rest of the world):

Does Structural Inequality Begin with a Bank Account?

  • By
  • William Elliott,
  • New America Foundation
January 12, 2012

“Creating a Financial Stake in College” is a four-part series of reports that focuses on the relationship between children’s savings and improving college success. This series examines: (1) why policymakers should care about savings, (2) the relationship between inequality and bank account ownership, (3) the connections between savings and college attendance, and (4) recommendations to refine children’s savings account proposals.

The CFPB is the Law of the Land

January 10, 2012
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US News and World Report and their Debate Club feature asked if the recess appointment of Richard Cordray to head up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was constitution. Here’s my take:

The CFPB is the law of the land. The agency was created last year when the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed by Congress and signed by the President. This is how laws are made. It says so in the Constitution. A minority of Senators can’t decide on their own to nullify the law. And tellingly, few are raising the objection the Richard Corday is unqualified for the post. In fact, he has received glowing and bipartisan support, especially from those he worked when he served as Attorney General for Ohio.

Moreover, the CFPB has important work to do. The proliferation of abusive and unregulated financial practices played a notorious role in creating the financial crisis and bringing on The Great Recession. The new agency has been told by Congress to be the cop on the financial services beat and look out for the interests of consumers. This means making sure all types of consumers have access to financial products and services that are fair, transparent, and competitive. Specifically, the agency has been tasked with ensuring that consumer are protected from abusive and deceptive financial practices and are able to get information that is understandable and timely. There should no longer be a safe haven for firms hiding large fees deep within disclosure forms written in unintelligible legalese.

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