In the News

Happiness research is "enormously important" if it can be applied to policy, says Robert Frank, an economist at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. For example, since money doesn't buy much happiness, the nation could institute a steeply progressive consumption tax that taxes income (minus savings and investments), rather than the mildly progressive income tax we have, he says.
 
Here's an unusual term: Gross National Happiness.
That all portends "payment shock" for those with adjustable-rate mortgages whose loans are due soon to adjust, said Javier Silva, senior research and policy associate with the public policy research group Demos in New York City. "Lots of ARM customers are experiencing payment shock already, and we're only see the first wave of adjustments upward," Silva said. "People didn't understand how much their interest rate could rise, or were unprepared for it. I'm not surprised that we're seeing rising foreclosures.
Walsh waited to start the nonprofit until one of his main inspirations, David Callahan, author of "Cheating Culture: Why More Americans Are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead" could come to town to speak.
 
Michael Walsh has decided to do something about all the lying, cheating and manipulating he sees in society. He's starting locally, but he's also using the internet to branch out globally.
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According to Javier Silva, a senior research and policy associate with Demos, a New York think tank and public policy organization, homeowners' equity fell from an average of 68.3 percent to 55 percent between 1973 and 2004. Americans now own a smaller stake in their homes than they used to. In the 1950s, they owned nearly 80 percent.
 
If real estate appreciation slows or declines, homeowners without equity that is firmly established may find themselves owing more than their houses are worth.
"The results are clear: Wages have stagnated while medical and housing costs have skyrocketed, and if confronted with a layoff or health emergency there are few, if any, personal or public safety nets adequate enough to help in a crisis," said Tamara Draut, director of the Economic Opportunity Program and co-author of the report, in a statement. "Households are turning to high-cost credit cards to keep afloat."
 
With the arrival of the holiday shopping season, credit cards are expected to be in use.
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, here are new findings from "The Plastic Safety Net," a report from a survey conducted by Demos and the Center for Responsible Lending. (For information on the survey's methodology, see Page 6 of the PDF version of the report.)
 
$8,650 is the average credit card debt of a low- and middle-income indebted household in America.
As economists Heather Boushey and Christian Weller note in their contribution to Inequality Matters: The Growing Economic Divide in America and Its Poisonous Consequences, a fascinating collection of essays commissioned by New York think tank Demos, "the average real income of the bottom 90 percent of American taxpayers declined by 7 percent between 1973 and 2000, while the income of the top 1 percent went up 148 percent."
 
That's partly because the rich-and the media-set the standard for what's necessar
My copy of INEQUALITY MATTERS: The Growing Economic Divide in America and Its Poisonous Consequences, edited by my new friend James Lardner and my old friend, David A. Smith just arrived. Run out and buy a copy.
Tamara Draut, director of the economic opportunity program at Demos, a nonprofit research group, and author of the forthcoming Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead (Doubleday), offered a litany of reasons why young Americans -- "the first young adult generation" in U.S.
According to a Demos study, Americans from 2001 to 2003 cashed out $333 billion in equity from their homes. Many did so to pay off credit card debt and finance ongoing living expenses -- both good and noble financial causes.
 
The study concluded that Americans own less of their homes today than they did in the 1970s and early 1980s.