In the News

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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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.

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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From here to the Midwest, the actions of law-enforcement authorities form the big political topic of the summer of 2014.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — often labeled a tea party conservative — drew particular attention for his statements on the troubles in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting death of Michael Brown by a white police officer. He linked a “militarization of law enforcement” to a more general “erosion of civil liberties and due process.”

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The story of poverty in affluent America is a sad one, but not a new one. And it is the story of more and more Americans. Many newly impoverished are victims of a broken economy and a collapsed housing market, and have joined the chronically poor living in the shadows of the world’s richest nation.

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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