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September 12, 2012 | By Don Lee
WASHINGTON -- Several years of rising poverty in the United States came to a halt in 2011 as more workers found full-time work, but overall household incomes on average continued a decade-long slide and inequality rose further last year, the government said Wednesday. The Census Bureau's annual report on income, poverty and health insurance coverage surprised analysts, who were projecting another tick up in the poverty rate, given the still-high unemployment rate and significant layoffs last year at local government offices.
April 24, 2014 | By Harold Meyerson
The most fundamental problem Los Angeles faces is that a huge number of Angelenos can't even afford to live here. Their pay is too low; their rent is too high. Last week, the real estate website Zillow released a survey commissioned by the New York Times that identified the 90 American cities where the median rent exceeded 30% of the median household income. (The 30% figure is the threshold at which rent is generally deemed unaffordable.) The survey ranked those 90 cities by the percentage of their residents' median income devoted to their median rent.
December 21, 2012 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumer spending rose 0.4% in November after a drop the previous month attributed to  Superstorm Sandy, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Personal income also increased last month, jumping 0.6% from October, giving consumers more money in their wallets to spend. The new figures showed Americans shrugged off concerns last month about the large tax increases and government spending cuts looming Jan. 1, known as the fiscal cliff. Personal consumption expenditures increased $41.3 billion in November after falling by $20.2 billion, or 0.1%, in October, the Commerce Department said.
April 23, 2014 | By Ricardo Lopez
Move over, "Fifty Shades of Grey. " Instead of romance, a book by French economist Thomas Piketty on income inequality and capitalism is the No. 1 best-selling book on Piketty's "Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century" is generating so much interest among economists and policy makers that it's temporarily out of stock on Amazon. PHOTOS: The 10 richest people in the world At nearly 700 pages, it's not a book for beach reading by casual readers -- unless a mix of dense economic data and history is your thing.  Piketty examined decades of historical data from 20 countries to compare income inequality over time and concluded that the U.S. economy has seen the wealth of the 1% grow to dizzying new heights.
January 31, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Consumers opened their wallets more than expected last month even though their incomes failed to grow, another indication the economy picked up steam heading into the new year, the Commerce Department said Friday. Spending rose 0.4% in December after an upwardly revised 0.6% increase the previous month. Economists had projected so-called personal-consumption expenditures increased only 0.2% last month. "The consumer has a lot of spending momentum and is off to a good start for 2014," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in New York.
November 19, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Scientists may have discovered the secret to avoiding the fiscal cliff: Happiness. Regardless of whether money can buy happiness, being happy may actually make you more money down the road, new research finds. People who express more positive emotions as teenagers and greater life satisfaction as young adults tend to have higher incomes by the time they're 29, according to a study published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The difference was so great that when measuring life satisfaction on a 5-point scale, a 1-point jump at age 22 made a $2,000 difference in income down the line.
April 18, 1991 | From Associated Press
People living along the East Coast enjoyed the fastest income growth during the record prosperity of the 1980s, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. At the top of the list were residents of New Jersey, whose per-capita incomes jumped an average 8% annually, to $24,968, between 1980 and 1990, according to a study by the department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. The national average was 6.5% annual growth, to $18,685, for the decade.
December 21, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro and Christi Parsons, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - With the sudden collapse of House Speaker John A. Boehner's Plan B to avert most year-end tax increases, President Obama and congressional leaders face a daunting choice: compromise in the few days remaining before tax hikes and spending cuts kick in, or call it quits and soar off the "fiscal cliff. " Obama appeared in the White House briefing room late Friday to urge congressional leaders to at least prevent income tax increases on household income of less than $250,000, continue long-term unemployment benefits and delay the mandatory spending cuts set to begin in January.
June 25, 1993 | From Associated Press
A healthy 0.6% increase in personal income allowed Americans to save more in May, the government said Thursday, a signal of modestly improving economic prospects. The increase, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $5.3 trillion, was the sixth consecutive gain in personal income and would have been even stronger if not for a second consecutive decrease in federal farm subsidies, the Commerce Department said.
February 12, 2012 | By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
More than 2,000 California Democrats gathered in San Diego this weekend for their state party convention, giving leaders a chance to rally the faithful and rub elbows with powerful, well-heeled interests. While hundreds of activists listened to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) give a noontime address Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown slipped away to a neighboring hotel to host a $25,000-a-plate lunch for a select group of contributors. The fundraising event, which was closed to the media but had about two dozen guests, according to some who attended, provided an intimate audience with the governor for lobbyists whose clients had opened their wallets to back Brown's proposed tax-increase initiative.
April 22, 2014 | By Mary MacVean
African American high school students and boys in low- to middle-income families reported short, fragmented sleep, and that could play a role in their health risks, researchers reported Monday. Anyone who's ever lived with a teenager knows they often don't get the eight to nine hours of sleep the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Researchers writing in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics looked at one group of young people - those in a lower socioeconomic community.
April 21, 2014 | By Carla Rivera
Sichen Hernandez-Martinez is the type of undergraduate who is increasingly in demand at four-year colleges: She had been a community college honors student, a member of campus government and was active in school clubs. After three years at Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, she was admitted to USC, UC Riverside and Cal State San Bernardino. She accepted a scholarship to Pomona College, a selective, private school in Claremont, which she entered as a junior this year. The Pomona admissions committee was as impressed with her academics as it was with her community involvement.
April 19, 2014 | By Hailey Branson-Potts
The walls of Alice Herman's home are covered in photographs. Herman and Sylvia Purdue, her partner of 45 years, smile in scenes from birthdays and hospital rooms. In black-and-white photos from their younger days, their hair is teased, their makeup flawless. After Purdue died a few years ago, Herman was left with two cats and enough money for two months' rent. Years of Purdue's hospital bills had chipped away their savings. Because Purdue died before the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last summer, Herman could not receive Purdue's Social Security benefits.
April 11, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON-- President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watched their income fall and their federal tax rate go up in 2013, according to IRS returns released Friday by the White House. In a joint filing, the couple reported an adjusted gross income of $481,098, down $127,500 from 2012. The Obamas have seen a steady drop in income during their White House years, largely a result of slowing book sales for the couple. Both have published best-sellers. The Obamas paid $98,169 in federal taxes, down from $112,214 in 2012.
April 6, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - When you're raking in tens of billions of dollars in profits by helping credit-elite borrowers buy homes, couldn't you lighten up on fees a little for everyday folks who'd also like to buy? That's a question increasingly being posed to government-controlled home mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their federal regulators. Though most buyers are unaware of the practice, Fannie and Freddie - by far the largest sources of mortgage money in the country - continue to charge punitive, recession-era fees that can add thousands of dollars to consumers' financing costs.
April 6, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes and Tim Logan
Dozens of people shared only three showers in the building that Patricia McDowell called home for the last 2 1/2 years. Roaches skittered across the floor, she said, and lights went out and stayed out. In recent months, McDowell said she had to run an extension cord to another room to keep electricity going. But when the Los Angeles Fire Department told McDowell and dozens of other tenants that they had to clear out of the building at 5700 S. Hoover St., citing dangerous conditions, she panicked.
December 23, 2010 | By Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times
The Iranian government's removal of decades-old subsidies for food and energy in an attempt to boost its troubled economy has spurred price increases on everything from fruit and vegetables to gasoline, generated work stoppages and emboldened the political opposition. In Tehran, the nation's capital, taxi fares that officially were to rise by 10% shot much higher as drivers imposed their own price increases. Some truckers across the country refused to work, complaining of government threats to revoke their permits if they raised their prices to offset higher fuel costs.
April 9, 2011 | Tim Rutten
The hall of mirrors in which our bitterly partisan politics now play themselves out is a curious place. But even by its distorted standards, the reaction to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan's budget blueprint has been odd, particularly the general reluctance to call it what it plainly is: an attempt to abolish Medicare and gut Medicaid, while further lowering the taxes paid by corporations and wealthy individuals. Economists already are picking over the plan's dubious statistics, but — as The Times reported Friday — the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has outlined what adoption of this proposal to supplant Medicare with vouchers and private insurance exchanges would mean.
March 28, 2014 | By Walter Hamilton
Profit at Tribune Co., the parent of the Los Angeles Times and other newspaper, radio and television properties, fell sharply last year amid a further decline in newspaper advertising and a significant drop in earnings at its broadcast division. The Chicago media company reported net income of $241.6 million for the year, down 43% from $422.5 million in 2012. Total operating revenue fell 8% to $2.9 billion, with a 6% decline in publishing and an 11% drop in broadcasting. For the fourth quarter, revenue dropped $97 million, or 11%, to $773 million, partly because the quarter included one fewer week than the previous year's final three months.
March 27, 2014 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Matt Taibbi begins his sixth book, "The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap," with a simple formulation: "Poverty goes up; Crime goes down; Prison population doubles. " It's a snapshot, a way to represent what Taibbi sees as the through-the-looking-glass reality of contemporary America, where rule of law has been subverted by, on the one hand, corporate greed and, on the other, a kind of institutionalized abuse of the poor. Such a landscape, he suggests, brings to mind the last days of the Soviet Union, which operated out of a similar sort of mass hypocrisy until, in 1990 and '91, "people were permitted to think about all this and question the unwritten rules out loud, [and]
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