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Wealth & Poverty from Marketplace APM

Updated 2 days ago

Society & Culture
News
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The Marketplace Wealth and Poverty Desk explores money and class, where we came from and where our country is going economically, thanks to funding from the Ford Foundation. We want to hear your stories, ideas, and questions to help us create great journalism about the growing concentration of wealth in the United States. We’ll report on the forces and policies that led to the wealth gap. We’ll look at what the consequences are, good or bad, for our families and communities. We’ll be asking you what economic choices our country should make.

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The Marketplace Wealth and Poverty Desk explores money and class, where we came from and where our country is going economically, thanks to funding from the Ford Foundation. We want to hear your stories, ideas, and questions to help us create great journalism about the growing concentration of wealth in the United States. We’ll report on the forces and policies that led to the wealth gap. We’ll look at what the consequences are, good or bad, for our families and communities. We’ll be asking you what economic choices our country should make.

iTunes Ratings

27 Ratings
Average Ratings
26
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0
1

Thought provoking

By Viewer in Michigan - Jun 25 2016
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"The Uncertain Hour" is a great podcast that focuses at a very personal level on how macro economics affects real people. I subscribed after one episode. The podcast focuses on a simple observation, that "sometimes the things that what we fight the most about are the things we know the least about." This reminds me of the quote attributed to Mark Twain: "It ain't what you know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." I believe Twain's wise words may have also been quoted in the movie "The Big Short."

Want to understand? Listen here.

By just my self - May 03 2016
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Facts, context and clear thinking make this podcast worth your time every time a new one is released.

iTunes Ratings

27 Ratings
Average Ratings
26
0
0
0
1

Thought provoking

By Viewer in Michigan - Jun 25 2016
Read more
"The Uncertain Hour" is a great podcast that focuses at a very personal level on how macro economics affects real people. I subscribed after one episode. The podcast focuses on a simple observation, that "sometimes the things that what we fight the most about are the things we know the least about." This reminds me of the quote attributed to Mark Twain: "It ain't what you know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." I believe Twain's wise words may have also been quoted in the movie "The Big Short."

Want to understand? Listen here.

By just my self - May 03 2016
Read more
Facts, context and clear thinking make this podcast worth your time every time a new one is released.

Episodes of:

Cover image of Wealth & Poverty from Marketplace APM

Wealth & Poverty from Marketplace APM

Updated 2 days ago

Read more

The Marketplace Wealth and Poverty Desk explores money and class, where we came from and where our country is going economically, thanks to funding from the Ford Foundation. We want to hear your stories, ideas, and questions to help us create great journalism about the growing concentration of wealth in the United States. We’ll report on the forces and policies that led to the wealth gap. We’ll look at what the consequences are, good or bad, for our families and communities. We’ll be asking you what economic choices our country should make.

Schools struggle to address rising student homelessness

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Cecilia Sirianni's small office at Massabesic High School can sometimes get a bit messy. Piles of donated clothes and boxes of snacks fill cabinets and shelves — all for students at the rural district in York County, Maine. For more than a decade, a big part of Sirianni's job has been to identify kids and families who are homeless and help them meet basic needs."So they're dealing with all this adult stuff,” Sirianni said. “Like, again, where's my food? I have to figure out how to get home. I have to figure out, I don't have warm clothing. And they're trying to just fit in and be regular kids.” According to recent federal data from the National Center for Homeless Education, more than 1.3 million students were identified as homeless nationwide in 2017, more than double the number from a decade before. The issue is putting added pressure on schools, which are responsible for identifying those students and getting them the services they need.On a recent morning, Sirianni sits down with a student named Savannah, who didn't want her last name used for privacy reasons. The senior ended up without a permanent place to stay last fall, she says, when after being treated badly at a foster home, she packed her belongings in trash bags and left to stay with a friend’s family.“I was unhappy,” Sirianni said. “And I’m a happy person. And I just got sick of being unhappy. And I needed to leave.”But the senior has now been forced to navigate in an adult world. She’s had to figure out how to get food, healthcare and transportation. She’s spent hours working with Sirianni and other staff on complicated college and financial aid forms — made even more complicated by her uncertain housing situation."Like, let's say Cecilia's position never existed,” she said. “And I really did have to do this on my own. I remember doing it on my own, and I’m thinking, ‘What the heck?’”Under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, school districts are required to have “liaisons” who make sure homeless students and families receive education and support. But Barbara Duffield, the executive director of SchoolHouse Connection, a non-profit advocacy group that works on youth homelessness, says, in the past, many districts haven’t been aware of the prevalence of the issue or haven’t had adequate funds and staff to focus on it.“But to be able to have dedicated resources, such that the person can spend more of their time, that can be a challenge with limited funding,” Duffield said. She says that's starting to change. When lawmakers reauthorized the law in 2015, they required many school districts to set aside funds and look at achievement gaps that affect homeless students.At Massabesic High School, that help has made a difference for senior Savannah. She was accepted to the University of Southern Maine and hopes to study psychology. She says she wants to improve the system — so that other kids might have it a little bit easier.

May 07 2019

2mins

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Research says collaboration is needed to address Houston's "food deserts"

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture says more than 50 million people across the country live in “food deserts” – low-income communities where it can be hard to find healthy food. According to the last census, in 2010, almost 2 million of those people live in the Houston area alone. New research suggests the problem is persisting in Houston in part because the variety of groups trying to solve it aren’t always coordinating their efforts. And in some cases, they’re even competing for funding.

May 01 2019

2mins

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Kicking the habit

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Many people in Wise County agree that they can’t jail their way out of a drug epidemic, but there’s a lot less agreement on what to do instead. And we find out what happened to Joey Ballard.

Apr 18 2019

49mins

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African Americans' wages nearly stagnant over decade

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The unemployment rate is near historic lows, the job market is tight, and wages have been rising steadily.But since the Great Recession, wage gains have varied significantly by race, with African Americans’ earnings nearly stagnant over the period, while other groups' median pay has risen between 5 and 10%.According to “usual weekly earnings” data reported every quarter by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2007 to 2017 inflation-adjusted median weekly earnings rose 1.2% for African American workers, 5% for white workers, 6.1% for Asian workers, and 9.9% for Hispanic workers, after accounting for inflation. The weekly wage increase over the decade for all workers was 4.5% after accounting for inflation. 2017 is the latest year for which annual wage data in the series are available.Valerie Wilson, director of the program on race, ethnicity and the economy at the Economic Policy Institute, attributes the racial wage-gain disparity to numerous factors, including lower educational attainment and higher unemployment among blacks than most other groups, and racial discrimination in hiring.Wilson said that minimum wage hikes instituted by state and local governments in recent years have helped low-wage workers of all races. But, she added, these places are not where many African Americans live.“African American workers haven’t benefited as much as they would from a federal minimum wage increase,” said Wilson, “which would get into those southern states that have about 60 percent of African American workers, and are much less likely to increase minimum wages.” The federal minimum is $7.25 per hour and hasn't increased since 2009.Terrence Wise is 31, African American, and works at a McDonald’s in Kansas City, Missouri. He said the state’s recent minimum wage hike to $8.60 per hour has helped raise the bar for fast-food and other low-wage workers. But he said what has benefited him even more is organizing for the worker-advocacy group Fight for $15.“I asked my employer for a raise for like three years,” said Wise. “And after the first time I went on strike, I got a raise the very next day.” Wise has three school-age daughters and now earns $11 per hour, which he called “above minimum wage, but not a living wage.”Gender disparities are likely responsible for some of the wage-lag for African Americans, said Margaret Simms, a visiting fellow at the Urban Institute. Black women have higher labor-force participation than black men, but they earn less on average. And, Simms said, “for African American men, a larger percentage of the population is incarcerated, while labor-force participation of men who are non-institutionalized — that is, not incarcerated and not in the military — has gone down.”Gary Hoover, chair of economics at the University of Oklahoma, said he’s surprised African Americans’ wages have risen so little in recent years compared to other racial and ethnic groups.“This has been a tremendously long expansion,” said Hoover, “and if it takes this long even to get these modest gains, there seems to be something systematic going on.”Correction (April 18, 2019): A previous version of this story misspelled Terrence Wise’s name. The text has been corrected.

Apr 18 2019

1min

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Families bear the costs of alternative sentencing programs

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For the past 30 years, courts in the United States have experimented with different programs designed to keep convicted offenders out of jail — things like drug court or court-ordered community service, where people work off jail sentences. We’re at a moment where these kind of work programs are ballooning in popularity as a potential solution to mass incarceration. It's something we explore in the newest season of our podcast The Uncertain Hour.But these programs raise the question: Is mandated community service a good alternative to jail or does it create a system of easily exploited free labor?Marketplace's Kimberly Adams spoke to Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and University of Michigan professor, about the trend. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.Kimberly Adams: So how is the justice system rethinking sentencing and mass incarceration?Heather Thompson: Well, I think that most who work for the justice system or who've experienced it understand that we're in a bit of a crisis. There are way too many people locked up, so there's a real push to think about doing justice differently. A key feature of that is to think about alternatives to actual imprisonment.Adams: And what do you mean by alternatives to imprisonment?Thompson: Well, I think there are a number of options. There are different kinds of courts. For example, there are now drug courts. There's also a real move to community service and community supervision, where someone would actually work for a locality rather than be locked up. And the idea is that they're giving back to the community while also being close to family and not costing the state a lot of money in terms of incarceration.Adams: But how much money do communities actually save by using these types of programs?Thompson: From the cost-saving point of view, of course, it's a cost-shifting mechanism that puts a lot of burden on the folks who are doing that community service. Their families are now bearing the costs of incarceration, and it's also really not clear how much is saved financially because of the enormous bureaucracy.Related links
How much does it cost to send someone to prison? When in prison, the costs are steep and the pay is close to nothing

Adams: You mentioned the costs of these programs on individual families. Can you talk about those costs when those folks are under home supervision?Thompson: It is, of course, the family member that has a family person living in their home who's forced to work for free for the state. So in other words, they're not making any money, but, of course, family members are still having to house them and feed them. But we need to be clear that this incarcerated person, now incarcerated at home, is still making money for some other entity, and it's the family that's picking up those hidden costs of incarceration.Adams: What would need to change to make these systems, in your opinion, work better?Thompson: The most important question is why do we have so many people in that system more than any other time in American history, more than any other country. So if we want to solve this, we have to stop treating social problems with criminal justice solutions.

Apr 12 2019

3mins

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Supply

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It’s not easy being an undercover cop in a county of just 40,000 people. But drugs were making it hard for Bucky Culbertson to run his business, so he made it his business to get rid of drugs.

Apr 11 2019

40mins

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Low interest rates have cost savers roughly half a trillion dollars

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Historically low rates of interest have helped the U.S. economy recover from the Great Recession. But there have been casualties. Savers — and the wider economy — have lost interest income from deposits and investments that could total $500 billion. This probably hurt those who are retired, or on a fixed income, the most.Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

Apr 10 2019

2mins

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Life for Americans without identifying documents can be financially devastating

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When American-born children age out of foster care without identifying documents like birth certificates and state ID cards, their financial futures can be at stake. These young people may have trouble going to college, getting a job, or renting an apartment. In Texas, when kids in foster care turn 16, the law requires they get birth certificates, Social Security cards and state IDs, but that does not always happen. It can be hard to track down documents if biological parents are out of reach, or if children do not recall what name was on their birth certificate once they reach adulthood.

Apr 10 2019

2mins

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Welcome to Wise County

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It’s the deadliest drug epidemic our country has ever faced. We go to ground zero, where “nothing changes except for the drug.”

Apr 04 2019

35mins

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Sentencing

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The drug bust and the trial were a “farce,” but the full force of the law still came down on Keith Jackson — and thousands of people like him. That didn’t end the crack epidemic, so what did?

Mar 28 2019

48mins

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