August 19, 2016 - The middle class is getting crushed. But there is hope. The most common argument about the middle class destruction is the declining or stagnant income, which is true. However, the main culprits are the costs of healthcare, education, and housing that have increased at a much higher rate, making it impossible for an average American family to attain a middle-class lifestyle (see chart below). Furthermore, the tax policies have exacerbated the problem by creating after-tax income and wealth inequality, favoring the non-working income taxed at a lower rate than the working income. Despite the doom and gloom about the middle class making headlines, there are three major forces working together—women, millennials, and technology, which provide hope for the future.
One of the reasons for that optimism is women gaining ground with men in almost every segment of society, such as higher education, healthcare, business, and even politics. For the first time in United States history, a woman, Hillary Clinton, has been nominated for president by a major political party—getting closer to breaking the ultimate glass ceiling. Almost 50 percent of the law and medical degree earners were women in 2010 compared to only 10 percent in 1971. Women have surpassed men by two-to-one in earning four-year college degrees from 1980 to 2013, according to a report by the Institute of Education Sciences, part of the Department of Education.... More
September 13, 2015 - The Republican and Democratic parties have mostly offered the regular party insiders as potential candidates for the 2016 presidential election. Both parties' insider candidates are busy campaigning against each other and are focused on dividing the country. They are engaged in tired old political rhetoric of fear and seem to be more worried about the Middle East than Main Street America. Democrats and Republicans both look towards Wall Street and the military industrial complex to solve our problems. All the while, our leaders have been stealing from our kids and have mortgaged their future to fulfill their insatiable appetite for spending. Therefore, it should not be a surprise to see the popularity of Donald Trump on the Republican side and Bernie Sanders from the Democratic side.
The American public's anger, disillusion and frustration with Washington is manifested by the attention both candidates are getting. Trump's ascendancy in the recent polls has thrown a monkey wrench to the Republican Party leadership's plan of anointing one of their own... More
April 22, 2014 - U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is one half of the legislative duo who recently introduced a bill designed to ease the pain of repaying college costs by bringing in Wall Street. Yet, this is another typical Beltway response -- treat the symptom with a legislative Band Aid when what is needed is a major surgery on the entire structure of higher education to cut the exorbitant cost of college. Until we address the root cause of the problem, students will continue to graduate with big debts that not only burden them, but create a drag on the economy as a whole, as I explained in my previous blog.
So instead of dreaming up the kind of new loan programs that Senator Rubio is backing -- what we need is to rethink the structure and purpose of higher education. As part of that rethinking we can also come up with fresh approaches to reducing tuition and making college more affordable -- the real solution to cutting and ideally eliminating onerous student debt ...More
Mar. 19, 2014 - Financial bailouts seem to have become a favorite policy of the U.S. government. Banks, insurance companies, the auto industry, the solar industry – all have been major beneficiaries of Uncle Sam’s largesse. Moreover, Congress is busy giving out money we don’t have, to Ukraine, Egypt and others instead of taking care of problems at home. One may not agree with how or why every billion-dollar handout takes place, but if we’re going to come to the rescue of big business, or even other countries, why not extend a similar helping hand to our children? I’m talking about the millions of college graduates saddled with the debt they had to pile up to graduate from college.
There’s a fiscally responsible way for us to do for deserving college grads what we did for Wall Street and big business. By relieving millions of young people of onerous debt we would see valuable economic ripple effects that rival any that came from recent industry bailouts ...More
February 5, 2014 - The numbers for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite its good intentions, do not add up. I'm talking about the number of Americans who will actually have health insurance now that the ACA, also known as Obamacare, is in effect, as compared to the number who won't be covered due to cancellations.
We were led to believe that the Affordable Care Act will take care of 47 million uninsured Americans when it comes to their healthcare. According to the 2010 projections by the Centers for Medicine and Medicaid Services (CMS), 14 million Americans will enroll in 2014 in the new Health Insurance Exchanges. That would still leave 33 million Americans uninsured by the end of this year ...More
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Munir Moon *** The Beltway Beast