Student debt crisis watch: pay $18,000 of your $24,000 loan, owe $24,000

Kaitlin Cawley finished grad school with $95,000 in student loans, including a $24,000 variable-rate loan that started at 9.4% and now stands at 11%, a loan that the US government lender Sallie Mae brokered for her when she was 20. Read the rest

World Bank recommends that countries eliminate minimum wage, dismantle wrongful dismissal rules and contractual protections for workers

A draft of the World Bank's annual flagship World Development Report says that its creditor-states (the poorest countries in the world) should eliminate their minimum wage rules, allow employers to fire workers without cause, and repeal laws limiting abusive employment contract terms. Read the rest

If this goes on... The 1% will own two thirds of the world by 2030

The House of Commons Library has published research projecting the post-2008 growth of inequality until 2030, arriving at an eye-popping headline figure: at current rates, the richest 1% will own two thirds of the world's riches by 2030. I think that number is too low. Here's why. Read the rest

The Wall Street Journal on the decade since the crash: inequality, giant banks, regulatory failures, looming catastrophe

It's been ten years since the financial crisis, when barely regulated banks destroyed the world's economy, kicked off wars, and directly and indirectly killed millions. Read the rest

Mortgage debt back at 2008 levels

Just in time for the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to disappear! The chart was created by Jaydub.

Data Source: https://www.federalreserve.gov/data/mortoutstand/current.htm Tools used: Microsoft Excel and Plotly

Read the rest

Toronto's real estate market is imploding

Toronto is one of the many great world cities that has been rendered nearly unlivable by real-estate speculation, both from onshore investors and offshore ones. Read the rest

California ballot initiative to make state university free again by reinstating inheritance tax for millionaires

From their inception, California's state colleges and universities were free or nearly free for in-state students, but since the 1970s, the state systems have been ratcheting up tuition and originating loans that impose crippling debt on students, leading to delayed fertility, late home-ownership, reduced retirement savings, and dampening entrepreneurial risk-taking. Read the rest

Corbyn says he'll end asset-stripping hostile takeovers

Labour leader and PM-in-waiting Jeremy Corbyn has promised that when he is Prime Minister, his government will introduce regulations that ban the finance-driven, asset-stripping hostile takeovers of UK companies, in a bid to make finance the "servants of industry not the masters of us all." Read the rest

Trump's "consumer protection bureau" will let the $50B payday lending industry gouge the poorest Americans with triple-digit interest rates

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, founded by Elizabeth Warren prior to her career as a senator, was once the gem of the US political system, a consistently effective force for punishing finance industry wrongdoing, until Trump let Wall Street robber barons loose on it, under the direction of a lawyer who represented loan sharks before going to work for the Trump administration. Read the rest

Nudging doesn't give poor people retirement savings, it just makes them poorer

Nudging -- the idea that a well-designed "choice architecture" can help people make free choices that are better than the ones they would make without the nudge -- has a few well-publicized success stories: the cafeteria where frontloading veggies and other healthful options gets kids to choose carrots over pizza; and the employer-side deduction for retirement savings that gets employees to put aside a little more to retire on (this insight rates a Nobel-adjacent prize*!). Read the rest

Modern Monetary Theory: the economic basis for expanded social spending and greater shared prosperity

The last 40 years has seen a steady rise of deficit-hawking, in which the world's postwar social safety nets are shredded because the state "can't afford" them -- think of all the times you've heard of national debt being money that "the taxpayers" will have to pay back, and misleading comparisons between sovereign governments (who print their own money) to households and businesses (who don't), as though sovereign state finance was just a scaled-up version of balancing the family check-book. Read the rest

Jeff Sessions encourages courts to continue practice of fining poor people for being too poor to pay their fines

In 2016, the Obama DoJ issued guidance to US courts telling them to cease the practice of levying fines on poor people that exceeded their means to pay, especially fines for failure to pay earlier fines. This week, Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed that order. Read the rest

Independent auditor: Trump has made it impossible for students defrauded by predatory diploma mills to get their loans cancelled

The US Department of Education's Inspector General has released a report saying that the DoE has stopped cancelling the debts of students who were defrauded by fake universities. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren introduce a bill to provide $146B in aid to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

As vulture capitalists and profiteers circle the devastation in America's hurricane-struck island colonies, the Trump administration has nothing for them but more loans to pile onto their existing, crippling debt (even as affected mainland cities where more white people live get direct government aid). Read the rest

Student debt: more people, paying more money, and mounting year on year

Dissident economic statistician Matt Bruenig (previously) has parsed the latest numbers from the Survey of Consumer Finances, and brings us the news of the increased democratization of student debt: in 1989, only 16% of students and their families carried student debt -- in 2016, it was 44%. Read the rest

States suspend your driver's license over inability to pay court fines, costing you your job and any ability to repay

Massive income inequality, combined with Republican attacks on the taxation of the wealthiest, has produced a situation in which the state increasingly depends on extracting fines, interest and debt service from people who grow steadily poorer and less able to pay, and thus the state must turn to ever-more-extreme measures to extract the money it needs to survive. Read the rest

Once again, Cards Against Humanity is offering full-ride scholarships for women in STEM

Cards Against Humanity put $1M into a permanent trust that pays for an annual full-ride scholarship for women in science, technology, engineering, or math who are high-school seniors or current undergrads. Read the rest

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