February 10, 2014 |
Last October, in between arguments over the debt ceiling, the federal government somehow found time to send me an email. My student loan payment was 70 days past due, the message read, so the government had negatively reported me to each major credit bureau and would continue to report me until my account was brought current. I'm betting the government sent out a lot of those letters to people like me: college graduates from middle-class families who didn't qualify for much in the way of scholarship aid and had parents who couldn't afford to pay for their schooling.
February 2, 2014 |
SOCHI, Russia - Tired of hearing reports about alleged corruption and budget overruns, some Russian citizens have given the 2014 Sochi Olympics a nickname. Kickbacktiada. The Games, which begin Friday, rank as the most expensive in Olympic history with an estimated cost of more than $50 billion and counting. A recent study by a Russian watchdog group alleges that organizers paid far more than the going rate for numerous venues built in and around the Black Sea resort.
January 31, 2014 |
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.
January 29, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama's sixth speech on the state of the union spotlighted many issues, but more than anything it illuminated the vast gap between his policy ambitions and the tools he has to achieve them. The president made the ambition clear last month, when he referred to a "dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility" in the U.S. as the "the defining challenge of our time," a theme he repeated Tuesday night. "After four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better," he said, "but average wages have barely budged.
January 28, 2014 |
WASHINGTON -- Nearly four in 10 Americans want the government to do more to reduce the widening gap between rich and poor, according to poll results released Tuesday. However, there was no clear consensus among respondents in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey for addressing income inequality, a topic that is expected to be a major focus of President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night. The poll found that 37% of respondents said they want the government to be more involved in reducing income inequality, which has widened since the end of the Great Recession.
January 28, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Saying it's the "defining project of our generation," President Obama will call on Americans on Tuesday night to try to bridge the gap between rich and poor in a State of the Union speech that will focus on restoring the promise of upward mobility and economic opportunity. "Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average...
January 27, 2014 |
In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama will try to recharge his presidency by discussing the expansive divide between rich and poor in America. It's a crucial issue, and one with no easy solutions. Obama is expected to focus on the twin themes of income inequality and social mobility, which is the ability to move up the economic ladder. Wealth disparity has drawn enormous attention with the U.S. income gap at its highest level since the Great Depression.
January 27, 2014 |
Judging from the trends in political rhetoric, "income inequality" has become the new "poverty. " The latest example comes from a piece by my colleague Michael Finnegan in Monday's edition of The Times, in which Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti throws his support behind a proposal to raise the minimum wage at large hotels to a little more than $15 an hour. In the old days, such a proposal would be heralded as a way to lift working people out of poverty. (OK, not just the old days -- that appears to be the stance taken by Councilmen Curren Price and Mike Bonin.)
January 26, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The verdict was nearly unanimous at a recent hearing on Capitol Hill: The new federal "ability to repay" and "qualified mortgage" regulations that took effect Jan. 10 will make obtaining credit tougher, not easier, this year, and potentially force large numbers of creditworthy home buyers to defer or cancel their plans. What nobody addressed at the hearing, though, was the elephant in the room: OK, we've got a problem. But what, if anything, can buyers who find it difficult to meet the new standards do about it?
January 25, 2014 |
Adam Silver won't have to familiarize himself with the minutiae of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement upon succeeding David Stern as league commissioner Saturday. Silver negotiated that deal himself. It was the most high-profile assignment Silver undertook during a 22-year apprenticeship that widely is believed to have prepared him for the league's top job. The longtime lawyer started as a special assistant to Stern before running the entertainment division and becoming deputy commissioner in 2006.