Category Archives: Economic Policy

Methinks It’s Time for a Market Correction

I’m one of those people who gets nervous when the market hits new highs amidst what looks like a deteriorating economy for the middle class…but I’ll try not to be a Debbie Downer so, “Happy New Record for the Dow Day!”

Dow Power! Iconic stock gauge tops 17,000 for 1st time | Americas Markets.

A mortgage is a terrible investment – The Week

Herding the incomes of the young into deteriorating assets like housing is a dangerous misallocation of capital and investment. Investing heavily in housing means those incomes are not being invested in productive opportunities in other sectors of the economy, whether that is investment in the stocks of other companies, or individuals starting their own businesses.

via A mortgage is a terrible investment – The Week.

Saving Money — But at Whose Expense?

But they do save money!

GoLocalWorcester | Business | Smart Benefits: Switching to HSAs May Reduce Healthcare Spending.

Your doctor copays are too high! – Salon.com

Adam Gaffney serves us a dose of high-deductible health plan education straight-up.

Your doctor copays are too high! – Salon.com.

This is What Education Funding Looks Like

Good news for the middle schools of the United States, as Sen. Whitehouse champions new legislation to fund struggling middle schools.  

 

Whitehouse Announces Legislation to Improve Middle School Achievement

 

Providence, RI – Today, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed announced the introduction of the Success in the Middle Act, legislation to improve our nation’s middle schools. At the press conference, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Providence School Superintendent Susan Lusi, and Gilbert Stuart Middle School Principal Edward Halpin shared their support for the legislation and discussed its benefits for Rhode Island children.

 

“When children reach high school unprepared, it is often too late for them to catch up,” said Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee and lead sponsor of the Success in the Middle Act. “This legislation will help struggling middle schools prepare students for the academic rigors of high school, and put children on the path to college or a career early on.” 

 

“I applaud Senator Whitehouse for leading this effort to target reforms to the middle grades, a critical time when too many kids can fall off track and fall behind. This legislation will provide additional resources to improve our middle schools and help kids reach their full potential and successfully transition to high school, college, and the workforce,” said Reed.

 

“The middle school years can be a difficult, transitional time for children. In Providence, we have put a lot of effort into providing support and services both in and out of school for our middle school students. Senator Whitehouse’s ‘Success in the Middle’ legislation would significantly enhance the ability of communities across our nation to ensure that all students complete the middle grades prepared for success in high school and in the rest of their lives,” said Mayor Angel Taveras.

 

“We are grateful to our Senators from Rhode Island for their ongoing commitment to education, and especially to that of our most at-risk students,” said Providence Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Lusi. “This bill would bolster our efforts to ensure that the critical middle school years are full of strong academics, positive school cultures and supportive structures to ensure student success.”

 

The Success in the Middle Act would help disadvantaged middle-grade students reach their full potential by providing federal grants to underachieving school systems. Senators Whitehouse and Reed announced the reintroduction of the legislation at Gilbert Stuart Middle School in Providence, a school that could benefit from passage of the Success in the Middle Act.

 

An earlier version of the Success in the Middle Act was originally introduced in the Senate by Barack Obama before he was elected President, and was then championed by Senator Reed. Senator Whitehouse will introduce a new version of the bill next week when the Senate goes back into session.

The downside of high deductible health plans | The Incidental Economist

This study has a good graph showing how people in high deductible health plans forego or delay care. It also notes that the incidence of foregoing and delaying care goes up as the poverty of the individual increases. Conclusion: HDHP’s are making access to care even more challenging for the poor. I would like to see how the Affordable Health Care act plans to remedy this.

The downside of high deductible health plans | The Incidental Economist.

Take Action to Help Mental Health Providers Get Treated Justly

We in the social work field are known for advocating for just about everyone — the poor, the homeless, LBGT, Veterans, the elderly, people with physical disabilities, people with mental disabilities, the unemployed, the incarcerated, and so on. But when it comes to advocating for ourselves, we seem to have a harder time, and the many groups who we speak for are often not able to provide the same kind of “got your back” advocacy in return. For that reason, mental health providers are a category, politically, that is easily stomped on. Though we represent many, we represent the underrepresented, the less powerful, and the very busy people who must work two jobs for a living.

Here is a chance to help out your fellow mental health provider. Please consider signing the petition linked below to help advocate for mental health providers to be adequately compensated for their work.

Reimburse Clinicians Fare Wages Petition

Income Inequality May Take Toll on Growth – NYTimes.com

Stare this ugly fact right in the face — we are killing our country with income inequality.  It’s a significant factor in the stunting of American economic growth.  If Mitt Romney gets elected, income inequality will get even worse, and our economy will become even more stratified and vulnerable.

Income Inequality May Take Toll on Growth – NYTimes.com.

Kiersten Marek:

The elephant in the room in American politics: poverty.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Poverty.

Lots of talk about the middle class. Tax cuts for the middle class. Saving the middle class. Doing more for the middle class.

Not one word about poverty.

No mention that nearly 25% of the children in the world’s richest nation live in poverty.

Not one word.

View original

Not Happy? Maybe It’s Your Culture

Another fascinating documentary, “Happy,” entered my consciousness yesterday. It talks about what makes for happiness. Some of you may be familiar with the concept of “flow” — if not, the movie is an excellent primer. But beyond flow, the film also provides research about how little social status and money (above a certain basic minimum for health and safety) really have to do with happiness. Parts that were particularly intriguing were the descriptions of Co-housing in Denmark, and how people there report record high levels of happiness and contentment. Co-housing exists in America, but not at all to the degree it does in Denmark. It might be an interesting model for Americans to allow into their field of vision, now that we have suffered a massive economic downturn and many people have lost their homes to foreclosure. Maybe we could even try a co-housing development with the bond money that will be on the Rhode Island ballot this November.

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