Posts Tagged ‘USA Today’

The Fourth of July, Black Unemployment and Senator Barbara Lee

July 2, 2010                                               
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, released the following statement today after the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the June jobs report showing that unemployment is down to 9.5 percent:
“Today’s unemployment number continues to show signs that the economy is improving, however, the pace of our nation’s economic recovery is further evidence that government action to stimulate the economy and create jobs must remain a top priority. “The unemployment rate for African Americans remains unacceptably high at 15.4 percent. Likewise, African American and Latino teens are unemployed at 46.4 and 35.7 percent respectively, compared to an overall teen unemployment rate of 29 percent. “These gross disparities continue to underscore the urgent need for Congress to enact measures targeting communities that have been disproportionately hit by the economic slowdown and lag behind in the recovery. [emphasis mine] No specific measures are mentioned in the statement so I have to wonder whether people have just run out of ideas. The more time passes, the problem worsens and hope dwindles which causes some hopes to dwindle. It’s a vicious cycle. I really do not like or intend to comment regarding politicians but I believe it’s our duty to discuss policies that have disparate impact on law abiding, tax-paying ‘minority’ Americans.
“Last night, the House of Representatives approved a supplemental appropriations request that included $1 billion for youth employment programs, which will create 350,000 jobs for young people ages 14 to 24. I urge the U.S. Senate to swiftly approve this measure when they return to Washington D.C. after July 4th holiday. “ [emphasis mine]
Earlier this year, the Congressional Black Caucus criticized the President for not taking enough measures for economic issues affecting the black community. However, the President doesn’t have total control of what’s happening in Congress and to a significant degree it’s Congress’ fault for not being able to reconcile certain differences while children are literally living on the street with parents and families continue to face foreclosures. I find it ironic that one party states that the unemployment measure was not passed because  it would add to the deficit. So does supporting big corporations, with exorbitant tax breaks and the TARP bill bailout, who are the major market participants laying off employees contributing to the increase unemployment, no one wants to discussed how much that added to the national deficit. It’s o.k. to help corporate America, just not American citizens.  Anyway, many believe the President does not address these issues that affects the broader American people and more specifically Black Americans, from the Halls of Congress, to the Black suburbanites, the criticism is voiced:  
June 25: 2010:  Black Congress, critical of Obama, to convene in D.C. to set black agenda : Indybay

March 11, 2010:  Congressional Black Caucus: President Obama’s not listening – Lisa Lerer and Nia-Malika Henderson – POLITICO.com

I can understand the perceived divisiveness that speaking of Black and other minority issues can be. Especially when the broader American economy is suffering, which entails some White Americans who are impacted as well. However, just as Black and other minorities have been impacted the most, treating them with the a broader policy may actually cause them to slip through the cracks without providing a solution. Thus, when confronting a specific problem, it’s reasonable to work towards specific solutions though it will cause others who are not in the target group to feel comfortable with the notion.

As one woman states in July 2, 2010, 13A, USA Today’s paper:

…most years, I took great pleasure in reading the powerful Frederick Douglass speech, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro.” [sic] Though delivered in 1852 during slavery the words have rich meaning for me, even today.

“What to the American slave, isyour 4th of July,” he thundered to a crowd in Rochester, NY. “I answer, a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celbration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity…yourshouts of liberty and equality a hollow mockery.” [emphasis mine]

The speech is a scathing indictment of U.S. hypocrisy.  If you called me on July 4, I would probably read you some of its rich and powerful passages. Our nation has come a long way since 1852, but for many African Americans, shouts of liberty are still hollow mockery. Unemployment is a scourge on all Americans, but the black unemployment rate, at 15.3% in May, is nearly twice the white rate. Every economic indicator–income, wealth, home ownership–screams inequality.”  ●●Julianne Malveaux

Harsh, yet truthful words for a harsh reality.

Law School Tuition: USA Today Article: Investing won’t get you to law school; saving will

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June 21, 2010 USA Today: Investing won’t get you to law school; saving will – USATODAY.com. The author providing the advice is very frank, even if you INVESTED the $2500, there’s no reasonable way that the return on the stock investment will cover the costs of attending law schools. A gamble won’t cover a different gamble! Here’s the piece:

Q: What can I invest in that will turn my $2,500 savings into enough to pay for law school? A: We are often told that the stock market can richly reward patient investors. And that is true. But what you’re asking goes beyond what can be reasonably expected. You mean that the average person starting law school cannot afford to pay for it by investing or saving whatever money they have? Doesn’t that just force them into Sallie Mae’s prickly embrace? Oh, they just can decide NOT to go as an option as well.

Let me explain. You’re probably hoping I’ll rattle off a few amazing stocks that will rocket in value to turn your $2,500 into law school money. The odds of picking a couple of stocks that will do that are tiny.

Let’s first consider how much money you’ll need. The median tuition for one year of law school in 2008 was $16,836, according to the American Bar Association. And tuition has been rising about 9% a year.

That means if you enrolled in 2010, the price of the first year of law school would likely be $20,003. And that’s just the first year three. Your total tab would be somewhere around $65,572.

So, you’re hoping to turn $2,500 into $65,572. Let’s assume you’d want to have this happen in two years. For this incredible increase in wealth to occur, you would need a stock that rises 2,522%, or 412% on average for two straight years.

The reality: Stocks, on average, return about 10% a year. And lately, stocks haven’t even been doing that. Stocks aren’t the only thing not returning an investment.

If there were any stocks that could generate the kind of return you are looking for, they would come with such gut-wrenching risk you could also completely decimate your original $2,500 investment in the process. Like attending law school in the first place.

Don’t just take my word for it. Parallel comment: just read the blogs.

Over the past two years, not a single stock in the Standard & Poor’s 1500 index, which includes stocks of all sizes, rose 2,500% or more, according to Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ. In fact, not a single stock rose more than 2,000%. Over the past ten years law school tuition rose, while law graduates unemployment increased, so the actual product decreased in intrinsic value though it is still being sold based on its tradition and prestige.

To be more precise, the best-performing stock rose less than 400% the past two years. So even if you picked the best stock in the S&P 1500 universe, not an easy feat, your $2,500 would have been worth $12,500, a far cry from what you need to pay for law school.   Parallel comment: Not all law schools are the same, should you even choose to attend the best, what you invest will still not get you to the goal of being employed and paying off those student loans.

What’s the moral of this story? Don’t look to the stock market to pay for your law school, especially when you’re starting with $2,500. You’ll need to invest, yes, but more important, you’ll need to save more, and consider grants, scholarships and other financial aid. [emphasis mine].People are willing to do any thing for a chance to attend law school, instead this financial advisor states that the only way the writer will be able to afford to attend law school is through financial aid=student loans=Sallie Mae; who is not as benevolent as she sounds.

Smart investing can accomplish great things, but what you’re looking for goes beyond what an investor could hope for in his or her wildest dreams. In other words, it’s neither wise to invest in a bad stock market or that other type of investment “law school.”