In the News

For about a month now, New England has been pummeled with massive winter storms, leaving large swaths of the region with feet of snow and frequently making travel impossible.

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This week a group of former students calling themselves the Corinthian 15 announced that they were committing a new kind of civil disobedience: a debt strike. They are refusing to make any more payments on their federal student loans.

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Remember when Walmart got panned for running a Thanksgiving food drive for its own employees—overlooking the irony of demonstrating noblesse oblige by asking customers to subsidize the workers the company itself impoverished? The retail giant took a more strategic approach last week when rolling out its latest do-gooder scheme: raising its base wage incrementally to $10 an hour.

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The fastest-growing occupation in the U.S. is also among the lowest paid.

The aging of America's baby boomers has led to a surge in demand for home care workers to look after the nation's elderly, as well as the disabled and chronically ill. The work is as essential as it is poorly paid. Home health aides do everything from checking a client's vital signs and administering medications to looking after people's dietary needs and even operating life-sustaining equipment, such as ventilators.

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Phil Ashburn started working at Western Electric in 1972 and stayed there for 30 years, even after the company split up. Eventually he ended up at a phone company called Pacific Bell. “It was a great company to work for. The company took care of you and you took care of the company,” he said.

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Walmart just gave half a million people a raise. Could you be next?

The retail giant announced on Thursday that it would increase the minimum pay for its workers to $10 an hour, affecting roughly a third of its 1.4 million employees. [...]

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By law, employers in the U.S. cannot make hiring decisions based on applicants' age, race, sex or religion. But what about their credit history?

A disturbing new report by the think tank Demos explains how companies across the country are using credit checks to vet potential employees. Researchers found that one in seven people with poor credit reported being told they wouldn't be hired for a job because of their financial history.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio's vision for the five boroughs is to move past the "tale of two cities," to create "a city where everyone has a shot at the middle class," he said during his State of the City address earlier this month.

But just who is part of New York City's middle class? It is not an exact science. Here's why. [...]

A City Council report from 2013, however, expanded the definition of middle class upward to a family earning roughly $200,000.

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Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a historic deal with predatory for-profit Corinthian Colleges Inc., which will forgive nearly a half-billion dollars in private student loans that were taken by gullible teenagers to pay the schools’ absurdly hefty tuition — $60,000 to $75,000 a year for a bachelor’s degree.

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Salon
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After years of hardship, America’s middle class has gotten some positive news in the last few months. The country’s economic recovery is gaining steam, consumer spending is starting to tick up (it grew at more than 4 % last quarter), and even wages have started to improve slightly. This has understandably led some economists and analysts to conclude that the shrinking middle phenomenon is over. [...]

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