Dear presidential candidates: Jobs are not enough to fight poverty

EDITOR’S NOTE: This content originally appeared in The Hill Blog. Job creation was a frequent refrain in this week’s Republican debate on the future of the American economy, with each candidate touching on the ever-popular trope of getting Americans “back to work”. Though this “jobs solve all” mentality makes for a convenient narrative, it completely sidesteps the true needs of the 100 million Americans who live in, or hover just above, poverty.  The majority of America’s poor have jobs, often more than one, but still live precariously from paycheck to paycheck because of governmental and economic systems that thwart their ability to save, own assets, or build any kind of financial security. So while investments in workforce development, a living wage,... Read more

No Silver Bullet to Closing the Racial Wealth Divide

EDITOR’S NOTE: This content originally appeared in Roll Call. How do we continue to fall into this trap? We habitually attempt to solve complex social and economic issues by trying to find the iconic “silver bullet” solution. Now an important new study on college education and the racial wealth divide has sparked debate over whether one of those “silver bullet” solutions is a high-priced lemon. The report, released last month by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, found that from 1992 to 2013 college-educated blacks and Latinos lost more wealth than blacks and Latinos without college degrees. (One reason identified by the authors is that households of color without college degrees had little wealth to lose in the first place.) By contrast,... Read more

Realizing the Potential of Latino Small Businesses

For the last nine years, Santiago and Margarita have run a popular neighborhood eatery for home-style Latino cooking in Philadelphia. They are just one of millions of Latino-owned small businesses playing an increasingly critical role in rebuilding local economies and bringing vibrancy to urban and rural neighborhoods. Yet, these businesses bring in significantly less annual revenue and grow at a much slower rate, compared to non-Latino small businesses. If Latino small business starts are accelerating, why aren’t revenues keeping pace? Read more

Citizenship is an Asset for Economic Opportunity

Alberto is a truck driver for a furniture company in Los Angeles. Since Alberto and his wife moved to the U.S. in 1968, he’s had the same job for forty years, and currently makes $11 an hour. Halfway across the country in Houston, Jenny works hard at her part time job, barely meeting her daily expenses and bunking up with friends to save on housing costs. She attends a job training program to help her get a better job as a Human Resources clerk to improve her English. Alberto and Jenny come from very different backgrounds, but they share one thing in common – they want to become U.S. citizens. However, like millions of other legal permanent residents (LPRs) in... Read more

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