In the News

How bad a problem is inequality? Are working-class people getting screwed? Should we raise taxes on the rich? Is the United States, in short, a fundamentally unfair place? These are the questions that keep awake policy analysts and fuel endless dinner-party debates. But there's one group that is not losing very much sleep over them: rich folks.

The FDIC estimates there are 10 million people living in the U.S. who do not have a bank account — that’s one out of every 13 households. Nearly 33 percent of people living in Starr County, TX can’t write a check. In one census district in Savannah, GA, over 42 percent of residents are unbanked. The unbanked are usually poor, often minorities, and find themselves shunned by banks that can’t make money off them. Typically, they end up turning to predatory check cashers and payday lenders. Many also feel a great sense of social division between themselves and those who have bank accounts.

As Montana voters head to the polls to elect a new senator and a new congressman this November, they will also decide whether it should be more difficult to cast a ballot in Big Sky Country.


On Election Day, Montana will host one of the country’s key voting rights battles as voters decide whether to preserve or eliminate the state’s Election Day Registration (EDR) law, which permits citizens to register (or update their registration if they’ve recently moved) when they show up at the polls.

Democrats in tight races have found a new villain this election cycle: student debt. 

“It totally limits your options of what you can do,” said one student in an ad from Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who accuses Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of having “turned his back on the students” for blocking Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s student loan refinancing bill. 

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By offering low-fee checking accounts, Walmart dares to go where most big banks won't. Few major financial institutions are willing to give lower-income Americans checking accounts these days -- without exorbitant fees.

But, unlike the big banks, Walmart really needs low-income customers.

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While the de Blasio administration and the City Council work through the details of a bill that would prohibit employers from reviewing the credit histories of potential hires, liberal advocates are pushing for passage of the strongest possible version of the legislation.

Fewer American high school students are working summer jobs and part-time jobs than a decade ago, and that will likely mean lower wage-earning capacity in their futures, research indicates. In 2000, about 34 percent of high school students age 16 and older held jobs, but that share had fallen to 18 percent by 2012, data from the National Center for Education Statistics indicate.

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It’s the classic Catch-22 of the doomed job search: How do you get a job? You need experience. And how do you get experience? Get a job. But for many, the unemployment cycle gets further twisted when it intersects with the debt cycle. When prospective employers run credit checks, a bad report becomes a financial scarlet letter. ...

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A bill that aims to “prohibit discrimination based on one’s consumer credit history” by banning employers from doing credit checks on job applicants will be the subject of a City Council hearing set for 10 a.m. Sept. 12 at City Hall. [...]

According to an article by Amy Traub titled “Discredited: How Employment Credit Checks Keep Qualified Workers Out of a Job,” the practice of checking credit on prospective employees is legal under federal law.

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On Aug. 12, 2013, a federal court in New York found that the NYPD’s use of the stop-and-frisk practice was unconstitutional racial profiling. Almost one year to the day later, police gunned down Michael Brown — an 18-year-old, unarmed black man — during a street stop in Missouri. Don’t miss the connection, or the cycle of government violence against black Americans might never end.

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