In the News

Unfortunately, more and more retirees are falling into debt at the exact point in their lives when they should be free from financial worries. Whereas older people paid off their mortgages in generations past, now nearly half of all senior citizens still owe a house note.

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“When public figures demonize whole swaths of people for their own political gain, they are complicit in the escalation from words to deeds that follow,” said Heather McGhee, president of Demos.
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The IWPR study also offers a window into the way race affects a borrower’s’ experience with student debt. Studies show that black students are more likely to borrow for school and tend to borrow more than their white counterparts, likely because the gap in wealth between black and white Americans means black students have fewer resources to draw from to pay for college.

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In finance, the problems with nudging reveal it may even have a dark side. Nudgers are quick to push workers toward retirement savings, but sometimes are not doing enough to warn them about possible risks. The think tank Dēmos estimates that, over a lifetime, retirement-account fees “can cost a median-income two-earner family nearly $155,000.” John Bogle, an investor, has noted that a 2 percent fee applied over a 50-year investing lifetime would erode 63 percent of the value even of an account with healthy returns.

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“Alabama’s recent settlement with the Department of Justice doesn’t address the state’s photo ID law,” Lisa Danetz, the legal director for Demos, which before the deal played a leading role in raising concerns about Alabama’s compliance with Motor Voter, confirmed. “Instead, it relates to the federal requirement that the state must provide voter registration during driver’s license transactions.”

 
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The findings add to a growing body of evidence that in most cases, a college degree helps to boost employment and earning potential -- the underemployment rate of those with just a high school diploma is 12.9%, the analysis found. But for many Americans, a college degree is out of reach without taking on debt. That’s particularly true for African-Americans. More than half of young black households hold student debt, according to a recent analysis from Demos, a left-leaning think tank, and Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy.

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Attaining a higher education in the U.S. has long been seen as the great equalizer. "We see education as a way to level the playing field among low-income families, low-income communities and communities of color," Mark Huelsman, the report's lead author, told NBC News.
 
But the current education system is rife with racial and class disparities contributing to an expanding wealth gap between whites and people of color, according to the "Less Debt, More Equity" report.
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Eliminating student debt for low- to middle-income families could dramatically narrow the racial wealth gap between black and white households, according to a joint study by liberal think tank Demos and the Institute for Assets & Social Policy at Brandeis University.
 
Though 43 million Americans across the racial and socioeconomic spectrum have nearly $1.3 trillion in college loans, black households are far more likely to have student debt at all income levels.
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However generous paid leave benefits are, whether employees actually use those benefits will depend a lot on the culture they work in and the social pressures they face.
 
Amazon, for instance, is "notorious for its competitive work environment, and simply having access to leave may not be enough if workers feel they will be penalized in their careers for taking it," said Amy Traub, a senior policy analyst at Demos.
 
This is doubly true for fathers, who are especially unlikely to take leave no matter where they wo
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In addition, federal student loans — which usually cap at $27,000 over four years — don’t always cover the full cost of a higher education, and many students are forced to secure private loans or work jobs to pay for their degree.

“Student debt is not the same to every borrower,” Mark Huelsman, a senior analyst at public policy nonprofit Demos, said in a statement. “It can look a lot different to a first-generation student from a very modest economic background than to someone going to graduate school getting a law degree.”

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