In the News

Demos, a liberal think tank, and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University found African Americans are far more likely to have student debtregardless of income. Black families, after decades of being shut out of traditional ladders of economic opportunity, have the fewest resources to cover the costs of college or to protect against the risk of borrowing.

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A 2013 survey by Demos, a public policy organization that combats inequality, showed that 10 percent of respondents who were unemployed had been informed that they would not be hired because of some facet of their credit history. The same survey indicated that 1 out of every 7 job applicants with “blemished credit histories” had been told they were not hired because of their credit history. [...]

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LONG WAY HOME: According to a new report by the public policy organization Demos, African American workers are three times as likely as white workers not to have a car at home and they use transit four times more, which could be part of why some see transit as an issue of racial equity. The solution, Demos suggests, is to invest in infrastructure — improving transit and creating jobs for people who need them.

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Studies have shown that policy most reflects the preferences of the most wealthy members of society and that those preferences do not reflect the greater public opinion on issues including the economy.

There are also the racial disparities among retail employees to contend with.

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The chief plaintiff in the case is the A. Philip Randolph Institute, an organization for black trade unionists. It has been joined by a host of other liberal groups, such as Demos and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The plaintiffs contend the Ohio policy violates the 1993 federal National Voter Registration Act, better known as the “motor voter law.” Ohio argues the policy is fully compliant with the law, which also requires states to have up-to-date voting lists.

But even though one vote has only a tiny chance of being the pivotal one in an election, that doesn't mean that voting isn't important. Collectively, votes matter a great deal. Certain groups in the population that have higher turnout rates — such as older voters, the wealthy, and white Americans — benefit from the clout that they achieve as a result, says Sean McElwee, an analyst for Demos, a public policy organization that works to reduce political and economic inequality in the U.S.

A federal judge in Miami is currently examining whether Brenda Snipes, Broward County’s supervisor of elections, is adequately maintaining the registration list in her county. A lawsuit filed by a conservative election integrity group, the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), charges that Dr. Snipes has embraced a lenient approach to list maintenance that violates guidelines set in federal law. [...]

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This gap in voter participation matters to all Americans but has a special significance for African-Americans for three reasons.

“You’re going to have deductions and credits that primarily benefit the middle- and upper-class go away, but it’s not done in benefit to the working class,” said Mark Huelsman, a senior policy analyst at Demos, a left-leaning think tank. “It’s just done as a revenue raiser.”

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