In the News

The common theme of the books is soaring debt, brought on by two phenomena that this group's baby boomer parents didn't face: the high costs of a college education and the easy money offered by purveyors of credit cards.

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And much of that debt has been accrued covering everyday items. Seven out of 10 households reported using their credit cards to pay for car repairs, basic living expenses or house repairs, in effect using debt as their "safety net," according to that same study. One out of three families reported using credit cards to cover basic living expenses for on average four of the last 12 months.

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In tomorrow's State of the Union address, President Bush is widely expected to promote an expansion of Health Savings Accounts, or HSAs, as the new cornerstone of his ownership society agenda.

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It's never too early -- or too late -- to start funding your retirement. With Social Security and defined-benefit plans disappearing, you can no longer trust the federal government or your employer to take care of you. You're on your own.

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"People are very busy and boards are invested in the current director," said Frances Kunreuther of the Building Movement Project in New York, which studies generational differences in organizations. "That's who they have relationships with and that's who they're comfortable with."

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Tamara Draut discusses why today's young people are living at home longer.

Robert Frank, an economist at Cornell University, for instance, found that in counties with the widest income gaps, rates of personal bankruptcy and divorce rates were higher than average.
In her book, "Strapped: Why America's 20-and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead," Draut cites a number of hindering factors. Key among them: debt coupled with paycheck paralysis.
 
Draut and others have argued that the college degree today has become the equivalent of the high-school degree of yesteryear: a requirement to secure a middle-class income.

Krugman -- whose column is syndicated via the New York Times News Service -- is also the author or editor of 20 books and a professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University. He'll be part of a panel that includes people who contributed to the new book "Inequality Matters: The Growing Economic Divide in America and Its Poisonous Consequences."

Miles Rapoport, President of Demos and Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights argued for the need for national voting standards, open source codes for electronic voting machines, paper trails, non-partisan administration of elections, federal standards and, in a prescient comment--considering Monday's front page Washington Post story about the Department of Justice's Voting Rights Division--both pro-democracy leaders lamented the dangerous politicization of critical departments in Justice, pa