Commentary

For all the talk about saving Social Security for today's young workers, there has been surprisingly little attention paid to a major discrepancy in the apparent youth consensus for privatization.

Why is our generation the only one to simultaneously support President George W. Bush's most radical domestic policy agenda -- 55 percent to 42 percent according to a recent USA Today poll -- and back John Kerry for president? A closer look at our values may help make sense of the puzzle.

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Senior Fellow Jennifer Wheary addresses the reasons why failing city schools require dramatic action and urgent attention. That's the message from this past week's New York State Supreme Court ruling upholding the findings of a court -appointed panel that New York City schools require an additional $14.8 billion to meet students' basic educational needs.

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As economists and politicians debate strength of the nation's economic recovery, a dark reality has failed to penetrate the national debate: Much of our economy, including the recent spurt in gross domestic product, is driven by American families going deeper into debt.

Almost two-thirds of our economy is driven by consumer spending and the fuel American families are using to meet their everyday needs is high-cost credit cards. At the end of 2002, families owed more than $750 billion in credit card debt -- an average of $12,000 per indebted household.

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This month, the New York City Bar Association took up the cause of inmate Anthony Bottom, making an argument to the court that a state law banning felons from voting should be overturned because it violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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John Kerry let slip a few gaffes in his run for president, and the one that may have hurt him most is barely remembered. In July, at a Bush-bashing fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall, Kerry told a group of Hollywood entertainers that they "conveyed the heart and soul of the country." The tribute was meant as warm thanks to celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg and Paul Newman who had just raised $7.5 million in a star-studded evening. But Kerry's words turned out to be a priceless gift to the Republicans, right up there with his windsurfing outing on Martha's Vineyard.

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Senior Fellow Nomi Prins reveals that it is not just individuals who would suffer economic uncertainty if social security were partially privatized — it's the entire U.S. budget.

The reality is that the fees alone involved in churning millions of tiny accounts would be individually higher than anything the government could capture more efficiently in bulk.

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With college costs running as high as $40,000 a year, House and Senate education committees have tuition control on their to-do lists.
 
"There are long-term financial implications for people starting out their lives with high debt levels," explained Tamara Draut, director of economic opportunity research at the Demos consultancy in New York.
 
Student loan obligations "limit career choices as well as people's ability to plan for retirement," said

Senior Fellow Jennifer Wheary writes that, as we come to the end of what will surely be known as a banner year for "moral values," it seems only appropriate to reflect on the place of religion in American politics and daily practice.

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NEW YORK -- We take great pleasure in answering the communication below from Miss Virginia O'Hanlon, a third-grade student from lower Manhattan.

I am eight years old.
Some of my friends say there is no Santa.
Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

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Democracy Program Director Steve Carbo discusses the truth about vote suppression and system failures in communities of color.

The tactics are more subtle than in the old days, but suppression of votes in minority neighborhoods is very much alive and well.

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