April 16, 2013 |
One of the most fearsome statistics in the war against the federal deficit has always been the country's ratio of debt to gross domestic product. When this ratio reaches 90%, the argument goes, watch out -- lower economic growth is on the horizon. And that's scary, because that's where the U.S. has been heading. This idea comes from Harvard economists Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, who featured it in a 2010 paper and popularized it in a book entitled " This Time is Different : Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.
April 10, 2013 |
A bill before the California Legislature to address soaring student loan debt would require high school students to take a personal finance class. ALSO: Photo gallery: Ted Rall cartoons Stumbling into another Korean war Schwarzenegger: California's silent disaster Follow Ted Rall on Twitter @TedRall
April 9, 2013 |
Health insurers don't exactly enjoy a reputation for timely payouts when people submit claims. They've been known to make policyholders jump through all sorts of hoops before coming across with a little cash. But when you owe them money, that's another story. Karen Fairbank, 60, of Pacific Palisades discovered this recently when Blue Shield of California sent her a letter demanding that she return a payment of more than $2,400, and that she do it pronto. Plus $4.70 in interest.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 8, 2013 |
A California lawmaker and undergraduates concerned about record student-loan debt are rallying at the Capitol today for measures to protect those attending universities from going too deeply into hock. Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) is joining the students to seek support for a package of bills he has introduced. One bill, AB 233, would prevent wage garnishing on student loans not made or guaranteed by the government, while AB 534 would require universities to provide entrance and exit counseling to students regarding institutional or state-funded loans.
April 5, 2013 |
Dear Liz: What would you suggest that someone do with $20,000 if the someone is closer to 40 than 30, single, with $100,000 of student loan debt and a $250,000 mortgage? My salary is around $100,000 a year. I have an emergency fund equal to six months of expenses and I make an annual IRA contribution since my employer doesn't offer a 401(k) plan. Should I accelerate my student loan payments, since the interest isn't tax deductible for me because my income is too high? Or should I invest instead?
March 29, 2013
Re "No debt agreement, no break," Opinion, March 25 Debt hysteria, or "austerity," is the bad idea of late that just will not die. America does not have a debt crisis; it has an employment crisis, which, if appropriately addressed, would reduce the debt. Social Security does not contribute to the federal budget deficit; it is projected to pay out 100% of benefits due until at least 2033, and could remain at 100% forever by raising the contribution cap. Spiraling healthcare costs can be solved by doing three things: end fee-for-service, establish Medicare for all and allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
March 25, 2013 |
With no deal in sight to curb our growing national debt, America is going broke. So what do our representatives in Congress plan to do about it? Take a two-week break. Are they trying to see whether their abysmal 13% approval rating can sink any lower? I get it. Spring break shouldn't just be for students. Adults work hard too. But usually, a "break" follows a period of "work. " And not much can be said of the 113th Congress' accomplishments so far. Indeed, it has been more than two years since the president's bipartisan fiscal commission declared a so-called moment of truth: "We cannot play games or put off hard choices any longer.
March 25, 2013 |
High school seniors are more worried about burdensome student-loan debt than about getting into the college of their dreams. That's the upshot from the annual “College Hopes and Worries” survey from the Princeton Review, a test-preparation and educational services company. Thirty-eight percent of students surveyed listed “level of debt incurred to pay for the degree” as their primary concern. That edged out the top answer the previous three years, which was getting into their preferred school but not being able to afford it or get enough financial aid. This year, 33% listed that as their biggest worry.
March 19, 2013 |
Does it make sense for two students, one from a poor family, one from a middle-class family, to graduate from college with different levels of debt? I was surprised to find myself in a hot debate recently with a policy person at the Education Trust, a very pro-reform (as in, supporting making test scores count for a big part of teacher evaluations, fans of parent trigger) group whose main goal is improving educational circumstances for impoverished black and minority students and closing the proverbial achievement gap. We share that interest, including a sense that even public colleges can be too much of a financial burden for poor families.
March 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- The country isn't facing an immediate debt crisis, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Sunday, but he argued that Congress and the president must reform entitlements to avert one that lies dead ahead. “We all know that we have one looming,” Boehner said on ABC's “This Week”. “And we have one looming because we have entitlement programs that are not sustainable in their current form. They're going to go bankrupt.” Boehner expressed agreement with Obama's statement in an ABC interview the other day that the debt doesn't present "an immediate crisis.