Your editor appreciates well thought-out advice... but then there are times like this. Enter one Thomas Corley, who has all kinds of advice for poor parents based on his knowledge of what it takes to be rich:
The fact is the poor are poor because they have too many Poverty Habits and too few Rich Habits. Poor parents teach their children the Poverty Habits and wealthy parents teach their children the Rich Habits. We don’t have a wealth gap in this country we have a parent gap. We don’t have income inequality, we have parent inequality...
Wealthy people do certain things every single day that sets them apart from everyone else in life. Wealthy people have good daily success habits that they learned from their parents. These daily habits are the real reason for the wealth gap in our country and the real reason why the rich get richer. Unless we teach our children good daily success habits, and level the playing field, the rich will continue to get richer and the poor will continue to get poorer.
This issue of parenting seemed to be the theme of your editor's week. Over at the American Enterprise Institute, W. Bradford Wilcox and Nicolas Zill looked at how red state families compare to blue state families. Their research uses a "family stability indicator meaning looking at households where children grew up with both biological parents. This is the pattern that emerged under these assumptions:
In the New York Times, David Leonhardt uses geography to show that their findings really represent a North-South divide:
Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Zill argue that there are actually two models for having a large share of stable families: the blue-state model and the red-state one.
In the blue-state model, Americans get more education and earn higher income — and more educated, higher-earning people tend to marry and stay married. In Minnesota, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut, at least 51 percent of teenagers are being raised by both biological parents, among the highest rates in the nation. (That figure excludes families in which the two parents are together without being married; such arrangements are still rare — and less likely to last than marriages.)
In the red-state model, educational attainment is closer to average, but “residents are more likely to have deep normative and religious commitments to marriage and to raising children within marriage,” write Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Zill.
You also might be interested in this interactive from the Times on the best and worst places to grow up as far as mobility.
Over at Slate, Jordan Weissmann argues telling poor, smart kids all it takes is hard work is not helping them get through college:
In 2002, the Department of Education began tracking a large, nationally representative group of high school sophomores, whom it tested for math and reading skills. Ten years later, the agency found a troubling, though not exactly surprising, pattern. At every level of academic ability, the low-income students were less likely to finish college than their wealthier peers. Yet more depressing: Exceptionally smart poor kids, whose math scores ranked them among the top quarter of the study's participants, were no more likely to attain a bachelor's degree than scholastically middling rich kids.
What happens to these bright, low-income students? It's not so much that they don't attend college—only 12.4 percent skip higher ed entirely. The problem is that most don't finish, or settle for less than a bachelor's degree, which of course limits their earning power later in life. Sometimes they try to save money on tuition by attending community college, even though most two-year schools have a spotty track record when it comes to helping students graduate. Sometimes they get lost or overwhelmed in a college's bureaucracy, because they don't have educated parents who can help guide them along. Sometimes they try to work through school and simply can't balance the demands of a job with their academics.
The Economic Policy Institute has this excellent report on why schools cannot close achievement gaps and what social disadvantages have to do with it:
EPI also weighs in on the health of the 2015 graduating class:
Although the economy is slowly improving, the Class of 2015 still faces a difficult job market. Young workers who have the bad luck to enter the labor market during a downturn not only have worse outcomes in the short run than if they had entered in a healthy labor market; these negative effects can last a very long time.
You also might be interested in this jobs market interactive from the Wall Street Journal.
Okay let's have a cartoon from the Dallas Times Herald:
In perhaps one of the most distressing sign that our judicial system is failing to mete out justice and preying on the poor, we have the story of Kalief Browder, picked up at 16 for allegedly stealing a backpack in 2010. His mother could not afford the bail set at $3000, so he languished away in prison maintaining he was innocent despite numerous plea opportunities--much of it solitary confinement in Riker's Island. He never received a trial before he was finally released. He hanged himself this week at the age of 22.
In the New York Times, Shaila Dewan discusses why the bail system may be punitive to the poor:
The money bail system is supposed to curb the risk of flight by requiring defendants to post bond in exchange for freedom before trial. But critics say the system allows defendants with money to go free even if they are dangerous, while keeping low-risk poor people in jail unnecessarily and at great cost to taxpayers.
For those who cannot afford to post bail, even a short stay in jail can quickly unravel lives and families. Criminal defendants are overwhelmingly poor, many living paycheck to paycheck, and detention can cause job losses and evictions. Parents can lose custody of their children and may have a difficult time regaining it, even when cases are ultimately dropped. And people in jail who are not guilty routinely accept plea deals simply to gain their freedom, leaving them with permanent records.
Last week, your editor noted that this stupid show called "The Briefcase" was exploiting poor people. Turns out that according the the creator of the show, it actually aims at the cash-strapped middle class--which they argue is way more defensible, reports the New York Post. "We’re taking two typical middle-class families — that’s the starting point for us … and to see headlines about ‘poverty-stricken people being pitted against each other’ … that’s horrifically sad and misleading to the real poverty-stricken people in this country."
In the Pacific Standard, meanwhile, Nathan Collins argued hospitals continue to gouge the uninsured:
Following pressure from lawmakers and news outlets, some hospitals suggested they'd introduce discounts for low-income patients in 2003, even as they put the blame for high prices on government regulations.
More than 10 years on, however, hospitals are still charging much more than what Medicare does, the reason being almost the opposite of what hospitals have claimed, according to Washington and Lee University accounting professor Ge Bai and Johns Hopkins University health policy and management professor Gerard Anderson. Writing in the June issue of Health Affairs, Bai and Anderson argue that a complete lack of market competition and insufficient government oversight has allowed prices to reach exorbitant levels. In other words, hospitals charge what they want because they can.
And cue new discussion of the American Dream. Over at the Guardian Susan Campbell is at the mic, arguing Europeans don't have anything on us when it comes to austerity since we have been convinced we can "bootstrap our way out of needing" robust safety nets:
The dream says that if you work hard enough, you can make it in the US, and it is a damnable idea if ever there was one. The dream has allowed us to ignore that our social safety net has been shredded into cobwebs, because the dream tells us that if we work hard enough, we won’t ever need a net. And that entirely obscures reality...
We ignore the reality that so many of our fellow citizens aren’t making it – and we ignore that the opportunity for social mobility is greater in other countries than it is here. Through the rose-colored glasses of the American Dream, the people who are falling short simply Are Not Trying Hard Enough. They’ve Earned Their Low Rung On the Ladder. Oh, and: They Are Sucking The Rest Of Us Dry.
Some of you also might be interested to read the entire spring issue of the American Prospect is devoted to inequality and asks if plutocracy is forever. Founder and executive editor Paul Starr in one article discusses "how the gilded age ends":
As in the 20th century, the three critical domains for curbing oligarchic dominance in the 21st will be taxation, the rules of the market, and the rules of politics. Every idea about changing policy is also a choice of political strategy. Rolling back oligarchy will first of all mean focusing on tax privileges—the various ways in which the wealthy have escaped taxation...
As the latest example of tax evasion illustrates, many aspects of rulemaking for markets in the 21st century will need to move from the national to the international level, just as rulemaking in the Progressive era began moving from the states to the federal government. This is especially important if the interests represented in the rules are to include those of workers and the wider public. In a world where capital moves in a keystroke across borders, economic regulation at the national level has lost some of its effectiveness. The rules have to catch up with the realities, whether in dealing with climate change, taxes, or the rights of labor and consumers.
You may be interested in this GIIN report, which looks their first analysis of 310 impact funds, demonstrating a focus on finance, basic services and employment. And be sure to check out our president's report located here and here.
Apparently raising wages is not all Walmart is doing to "cast off an image as an exploitative employer with an army of minimum-wage workers, some of whom reportedly depend on food stamps or other government aid" and address sluggish sales:
To entice workers to stay, Walmart on Wednesday announced a number of other changes to its employee policies.
The retailer will ease a much-criticized dress code that had required store workers, even those in physically intensive jobs, to wear shirts, vests and khakis. Now, stockers and other back-of-store workers will be allowed to wear jeans and T-shirts. Service-oriented workers will also be able to expand their choice of pants to black or khaki-colored denim.
On special occasions, like days with sporting events or seasonal holidays, workers will be invited to wear team jerseys, ugly Christmas sweaters or pink shirts to support breast cancer awareness, said Deisha Barnett, a Walmart spokeswoman...
To acknowledge employees’ complaints, executives at the rally used an imaginary Walmart worker, a puppet they called Willy Sellmore, who offered a surprisingly frank take on the retailer’s policies. When an executive explained that the temperature changes had been discussed for a year, Willy appeared understandably baffled.
“A year? A year? How long does it take to adjust a thermostat?” he said. “This shouldn’t be so hard.”
There are thousands of these physical challenges for charity each year, from walks, runs and rides to more grueling or even silly events, most of them in the summer. The “ice bucket challenge” last summer, in which people challenged friends to dump ice over their heads or donate money to the ALS Association, stands out for its success, raising over $100 million for that group.
But as people receive requests to participate in or donate to one of these events this summer, how should they evaluate them? If they choose to participate, what will their effort mean to the cause? And if they sit on a nonprofit board and talk turns to emulating the ice bucket challenge, what should they consider?
And finally also in the Times, good news for companies awaiting crowdfunding as a way to help finance their small businesses. In while waiting for federal rules, 22 states have gone ahead and crafted their own:
The state-level rules have heavy restrictions, the biggest of which is that companies may raise money only from investors in their own states. In Texas, where intrastate crowdfunding became legal in November, that gives entrepreneurs access to around 20 million potential investors; in Vermont, only 500,000 or so.
The amount of money companies can raise is also relatively small. The rules vary by state, but most limit the total to $1 million or $2 million, and the amount any individual investor is permitted to give is typically capped at $10,000 or less. (Accredited investors, those with an annual income exceeding $200,000 or a net worth of at least $1 million, play by a different set of rules and may invest larger sums.)
But those rules give some small companies plenty of room to find the financing they need. In Madison, Wis., a three-year-old brewery called MobCraft recently took advantage of a new law to raise $67,000 in growth capital from 52 Wisconsin residents, nearly all of them first-time business investors.