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September 27, 2010 | Gregory Rodriguez
For all the talk these days of porous borders and external threats to the United States, the core of our sense of security and identity as a nation has always come from within. What's surprising, perhaps, is that it derives less from our vaunted democracy or our freedoms than it does from that rather nebulous notion we call the American dream. The dream is the glue that keeps us all together. It's the vague promise that our lot will get better over time that gives us the patience to endure whatever indignities we suffer at the moment.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 16, 2014 | By Ronald D. White
Adina Jones has spent years immersed in logistics such as financial tracking, transportation organization, nutritional direction and healthcare supervision. In other words, Jones is a mom. And until shortly before her 14-year marriage ended last year, Jones was a full-time caregiver for her three daughters. "I wanted to give them the best start I could," Jones, 40, said of her career hiatus, which began in 2006. "I wanted to be there for them in all ways. " Now, Jones is trying to reenter the traditional workforce and finding it tough.
March 14, 2014 | By Tim Logan
Income inequality is rising all over the country. But it's rising faster in some places than others -- almost nowhere faster than Orange County. That's according to a report this week from real estate website Trulia , which crunched income figures over the last 22 years and found that a household in the 90th percentile of income in Orange County in 2012 earned 11.7 times as much as a household in the 10th percentile. That's up from 7.5 times as much in 1990. Only three metro areas in the country -- San Francisco, hedge-fund capital Fairfield County, Conn., and San Jose -- saw the disparity grow faster in that time.
March 9, 2014 | By Cindy Chang
NEW YORK - Anderson Cadet arrived at the Varick Street courthouse in an orange jumpsuit, shackled at the wrists, prepared to fight his deportation without an attorney. In immigration court, there is generally no right to free legal counsel. Many immigrants represent themselves. But on this cold February morning, Cadet was greeted by a public defender who took on his case for free. The Haitian immigrant is a client in a yearlong pilot program, believed to be the first of its kind, that provides free legal counsel to low-income people facing deportation.
March 7, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes and Ryan Menezes
Sixteen-year-old Monica buried her face in a pillow, trying to rest for school the next day, as the clock ticked past 11 p.m. Sleep was a battle in the tiny apartment. Hunched at the other end of the family's only mattress, two of her brothers played a video game while a third lounged next to her, watching virtual soccer players skitter on screen. Her 2-year-old niece toddled barefoot near the door, toying with a pile of pennies. In all, seven people live in this wedge of space in Historic South-Central, including Monica's mother and the mother of the little girl - the longtime girlfriend of one of her brothers.
March 5, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes and Martha Groves
From the balcony of her Crescent Drive apartment, Shari Able takes in the luxurious view - a picture-postcard panorama of the homes of Beverly Hills. Her home sits above a Whole Foods stocked with organic kabocha squash and Dungeness crabs. Rodeo Drive's boutiques are a brisk walk away. But the 74-year-old is quick to warn elderly suitors who think her 90210 ZIP Code means a cushy bank account. Her federally subsidized apartment costs her roughly $200 a month, she said. "I told one guy from Long Beach, 'I live in Beverly Hills, but it's the only HUD building in Beverly Hills,'" Able recalled one morning over coffee and madeleines.
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.
November 1, 1993 | From Associated Press
Since the early 1980s, our wages have risen and the economy has grown, which leaves many of us wondering where the money has gone. We can show, for example, that the median income of a "typical family," a two-earner, married couple, has nearly doubled from $26,879 in 1980 to $51,883 in 1993, but we can also show that what's left to spend is only $4,504 more. Those numbers tell much about why, according to consumer studies, people sense they aren't making financial progress.
March 2, 2014 | By Anky van Deursen
Question: I was severely injured in a car accident. As a result, I am in a lot of pain and unable to work. Social Security accepted my claim, and I now receive monthly disability payments. Unfortunately, this is my only income, and I am on a very tight budget. I recently began looking for a cheaper rental unit but have encountered a problem. Most property owners require tenants to earn at least three times the monthly rent. Because of my inability to work due to my disability, there is no way I can meet this standard.
February 22, 2014 | Walter Hamilton
Los Angeles has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the nation, but that's due in part to a relatively strong local economy that's stoking the fortunes of higher-income people, according to a new study. Of the 50 largest U.S. cities, L.A. has the ninth-highest level of income disparity, according to the analysis by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. The top three are Atlanta, San Francisco and Miami. Inequality has become a flash point nationwide as the wealth of top earners surges while the middle and lower classes grapple with stubborn income stagnation.
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