Category Archives: Economics

Nearly Half of All Americans Can’t Make Ends Meet

By Free Radical

A new study shows that 43% of Americans cannot make basic ends meet.

A new study shows that 43% of Americans cannot make basic ends meet.

Almost half of all families in America are not able to pay for basic necessities, according to a new study by the United Way Alice Project.

Nearly 43% of households cannot afford housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, and a cell phone. Though 16.1 million homes belonging to this group are impoverished, the vast majority, 34.7 million, are employed yet are considered “asset strained.”

The report was done at the county level to determine what an average household would need to make in each locale. The report’s authors say that they took this approach because they believe the federal poverty rate of $25,100 does not accurately portray the true costs incurred by most American households.

The United Way Alice Project hopes that their configurations are used more regularly than the federal poverty rate when policymakers consider which programs to help the poor. The report’s authors assert that far too many  initiatives are not ambitious enough and often neglect families that are not technically impoverished, yet are in dire financial straits.

UN Warns Millions May Starve to Death in Congo

DRC mapBy Chuma Kisu

According to international reports, over two million children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are at risk of starvation if they do not receive the aid they need, the United Nations (UN) has warned.

The comments come in advance of a meeting between Mark Lowcock, the UN humanitarian chief, and potential donors willing to commit aid money to help the country in its dire situation.

“We have a great responsibility in the DRC… Now is the time to stay the course,” Jens Laerke, UN spokesman, said during a briefing in Geneva.

According to European news services, inter-ethnic violence and protests against President Joseph Kabila are the main reasons for the turmoil in the Central African country. These sources neglect to report that European colonialism fueled the flame for these ethnic conflicts and issues.

Last weekend, at least 79 people were killed when fighting broke out between Hema herders and the Lendu farmers in the northern Ituri province. Ethnic strife between the Hema and Lendu dates back to the 1970s.

The communities were embroiled in a violent, armed conflict between 1998 and 2003, in which tens of thousands were killed.

In recent years, the two groups have maintained a low-level conflict, only with occasional flare-ups.

Because of the conflict, farmers have been unable to plant crops for several years, leading to high rates of malnourishment.

Other provinces have also seen violence, particularly Kasai and Tanganyika, where hundreds of thousands of people are at risk.

In Tanganyika and the nearby area of Haut Katanga, more than 12,000 reports of human rights violations were recorded in 2017, according to the UN. Ethnic violence between the Bantu and Twa ethnic groups has intensified since mid-2016.

The International Rescue Committee said more than 400 villages were destroyed between July 2016 and March 2017 as a result of the fracas. The DRC has also seen an increase in protests against President Joseph Kabila, who has led the country since 2001.

Study: Redlining Alive and Well

indexBy Free Radical

The Fair Housing Act, passed 50 years ago, along with subsequent local, state, and federal laws should have effectively ended mortgage redlining. However, a new study by The Center for Investigative Reporting shows that discriminatory lending practices are alive and well, even in the age of rampant gentrification.

The nonprofit analyzed data from more than 31 million government mortgage records and found that people of color disproportionately faced denials in 61 metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Detroit, Washington DC, and St. Louis.

The analysis which was independently reviewed and confirmed by the Associated Press, showed that Black loan applicants were denied at significantly higher rates than Whites in 48 cities, Latinos in 25, Asians in 9, and Native Americans in 3.The data remained consistent even when researchers controlled for nine factors such as applicants’ income, loan amount, and the type of lender.

Credit scores were not included because lenders have successively fought long and hard to keep this information under wraps. Though they argue it is to protect the privacy of borrowers, critics say that the publication of that data would only reinforce existing evidence of discrimination.

In St. Louis, African-Americans were 2.5 times more likely to be denied for loans than Whites. And of the 41 metro areas in St. Louis where banks denied every request for a loan, all were located in majority African-American neighborhoods.

Though the data showed rampant discrimination in lending, many of the governmental mechanisms in place to prevent it have been weakened. The Community Reinvestment Act, passed under the Carter administration, instituted additional protections for borrowers. However the Trump administration has reduced or eliminated provisions that banks must follow to show they are issuing loans fairly. After one year in office, Trump’s Justice Department has not sued one lender for discrimination.

Steve Wynn, Conservative Mogul Resigns, Again

By Free Radical

Steve Wynn, Hotel Mogul and Trump ally, resigned as head of his resort company amid multiple sexual assault allegations.

Steve Wynn, Hotel Mogul and Trump ally, resigned as head of his resort company amid multiple sexual assault allegations.

Trump ally and wealthy Republican donor Steve Wynn resigned from his position as chairman and chief executive of his travel company, Wynn Resorts this Tuesday. Wynn has been the subject of a maelstrom of sexual assault allegations, some say stretch back decades. In a prepared statement, Wynn said that his stepping down was the result of “an avalanche of negative publicity.”

Wynn has been accused of and had settled several sexual abuse claims. Victims have said that he raped them, demanded they disrobe, and masturbate in front of him. The allegations forced him to step down as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee in January. The University of Pennsylvania also revoked his honorary degree. Gaming commissions in Nevada and Massachusetts have pledged to open investigations on his activities.

Wynn, also resigned from Wynn Macau which operates in China. Regulators have also inquired about looking into his activities there as well.