In the News

But a recent report by Demos, a think tank in New York, said the refinance boom has put many homeowners at financial risk because inflated appraisals that are used to refinance homes can leave homeowners with negative equity in their properties.
 
As falling interest rates transformed millions of U.S. homes into virtual ATM machines, critics say the real estate appraisal system has become rife with conflicts of interest as inflated appraisals justify ever-riskier loans.
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The study revealed some startling results that suggest a college education has become unaffordable to many young adults. For example, more students are taking on debt to finance their college education because of a shift in federal student aid programs. In 1980, the most common form of college funding was federal grants, which amounted to 52 percent of the government's student aid system. Loans followed at 45 percent. But by 2000, loans had risen to 58 percent of the student aid pie while grants dropped to 41 percent.

"Appraisal fraud is part of a bigger, more ominous picture," said David Callahan, research director at Demos, a nonpartisan public-policy group in New York. "As home prices have continued to increase above inflation, even nearing 20 percent per year in some cities, American homeowners are vulnerable as never before to financial ruin if home prices fall to their natural market value.

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Heather McGhee, economic-policy analyst with Demos said progressives value "shared prosperity."
 
Campus Progress, a project of billionaire George Soros's Center for American Progress (CAP), seeks to "empower a new generation of progressive leaders."
Hayden, director of Unlock the Block, a New York-based campaign for felon voting rights, said the case for a link between incarceration and race was irrefutable. "The fact that [there is] racial discrimination in the criminal justice system is a slam dunk," he said. "There's no question about that." Yet if the case proceeds to trial, the plaintiffs' arguments will also seek to connect disenfranchisement to deeper social problems tied to racial inequality, from failing public schools to racial profiling by police.
And today his lawsuit, combined with a similar case, Hayden v. Pataki, will get an unusual hearing before the full Second Circuit.
The laws that strip ex-offenders of the right to vote across the United States are the shame of the democratic world. Of an estimated five million Americans who were barred from voting in the last presidential election, a majority would have been able to vote if they had been citizens of countries like Britain, France, Germany or Australia.
 
The Iowa and Nebraska cases reflect a growing awareness in some of the states that these laws offend the basic principles of democracy.
"If you look at the statistics, every week and every day there is a story about how much credit card debt that demographic carries. They are targeting people younger and younger. The marketing and promotion of these products are very powerful, and people can't resist it." A recent study by Demos, a New York nonprofit research organization, found that credit card debt for people ages 18 to 24 climbed 104 percent between 1992 and 2001. The fastest growing group of bankruptcy filers are in the 18-to-24 age bracket.
According to Demos, a New York-based research group, young Americans have the second-highest rate of bankruptcy - topped only by 35- to 44-year-olds. Demos says financial troubles often start when students leave college with credit card debt and student loans that already are unwieldy. According to Nellie Mae, graduates are leaving college with $20,500 in student loans and almost $2,864 in credit card debt.
 
Whether you want your child to get a credit card or not, he or she will probably get one. About 76 percent of students have them.
As Javier Silva, senior research associate at Demos, a research and advocacy group, explained: "Prices have gone up so high that a lot of people can't afford to get into the market - so lenders have responded with these products," he said, stressing the popular loan world euphemism.