In the News

Owning a home isn't just a fragment of the American Dream, it's the key to it.

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When New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that his office had cut a deal with the three big credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—to improve the customer experience, the news shook the financial-services world into a frenzy. 
 
“In today’s world, the consumer’s input is less important than the bank or collector’s input,” John Ulzheimer, an expert at CreditSesame, told the New York Times.
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The Root

The yawning racial wealth gap in the United States is no accident, but rather, driven by unjust public policy decisions—from the re-segregation of education to the redlining of home ownership to poverty wages, according to a new analysis by Brandeis University and the public policy organization Demos.

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If black families had the same opportunitites that white families have to increase their incomes through investments, retirement plans, and other asset-building measures, it would reduce the wealth gap between the two groups by nearly $45,000, or 43 percent, according to a report out Tuesday. For Latino families, it would reduce the gap by more than almost $52,000, or 50 percent.

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Maybe no economic statistic captures the continuing impact of the nation’s history of inequality better than the racial wealth gap. It has left a yawning gulf that separates whites from blacks and Hispanics. And it persists across income and educational levels in ways that have left whites who are high school dropouts with a higher median new worth greater than blacks and Hispanics who are college graduates.

Owning a home, then equal pay for equal work, and then having a college degree are the three factors that can make the biggest difference in closing the racial wealth gap, which is how non-whites in America are vastly less wealthy than most whites. 
 
If blacks and Latinos owned homes as widely as whites, then median black household wealth would grow by $32,113, and median Latino wealth would grow by $29,213, a new study by Demos, a progressive think tank, and the Institute for Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University has found.
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Next month, the nation’s biggest minimum wage hike takes effect. But its impact could be dulled if the franchise lobby has its way in court.
 
Under Seattle’s two-tiered, multi-year wage boost, small businesses will start paying at least $10 an hour by April 1, and $15 by 2021. Companies with more than 500 employees -- a category that includes fast-food franchises like McDonald’s and Burger King -- have a tighter window. They’re supposed to pony up $11 an hour as of next month, reaching $15 by 2018.

Warren Buffett warned investors that bankers were still up to their old tricks in his recent investor letter. Vanguard founder Jack Bogle is writing about how high fee mutual funds are ripping off investors and endangering retirement security. And Fed Chair Janet Yellen is touting new, tougher capital rules for “Too Big to Fail” banks.

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Latonya Suggs is one of 15 former students of Corinthian-owned schools called "the Corinthian 15" who are engaging in what they say is the nation's first student debt strike. They're refusing to pay back both their private and their federal student loans.
 
Strike Debt is helping provide legal support for the students for the consequences of the strike, which will be harsh if the group isn't relieved of its debts.
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The U.S. economy has finally slugged its way out of the ditches.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Department of Labor job numbers indicate that the labor market improved in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. in 2014.

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