How to save more money: It’s a matter of time
Americans are living precarious lives. Nearly half of all families—many with homes and cars and jobs—are one misfortune away from financial disaster. A medical emergency or even a temporary loss of employment could gobble up their meager savings in six months or less. One in four Americans has zero savings. Many of these people are approaching retirement age, but they will never be able to retire the way they once imagined. There are many reasons for this dire financial situation, but one important one is that Americans simply don’t put enough money aside. Even when they have a little extra in their paycheck, they spend it, rather than socking it away for the future.
What Do You See in The Face Of The GOP?
I’ve worked in Washington, DC, for decades, so I have witnessed a fair number of political logjams, even a few government shutdowns. So I’m not quick to panic when the two parties’ leaders stubbornly stake out what are seemingly irreconcilable positions. But I confess that listening to House Republicans this time around—especially but not only the Tea Party zealots—is making me nervous. This is not just the usual posturing and brinkmanship. I really think they perceive a different reality than the rest of us. Is that possible? Can people be so biased by their political attitudes that they look out and see a different world, a world where up is down and black is white?
Does Diversity Undermine Community Trust?
Research suggests that meaningful day-to-day personal contact might mitigate the ‘hunkering down’ mentality that arises when communities become more diverse.
The Two Faces of Shame
Twenty-four year old Shawn Gementera was caught red-handed pilfering letters from private mailboxes along San Francisco’s Fulton Street. Mail theft is a serious crime, and it was not Gementera’s first run-in with the law. Even so, the judge opted for a lenient sentence—just two months in jail and three years of supervised release. But the supervised release came with an unusual condition. Gementera’s sentence required him to stand in front of a San Francisco post office, wearing a sandwich board with these words in large letters: “I stole mail.
Psst. I hear that gossip is not all bad.
When I was growing up, there was a woman in the neighborhood known as The Mayor. She was not a mayor in any official sense, and in fact held no political office. She was a busybody and a gossip, and she made it her mission to spread the word on other neighbors’ lives—who got a DUI last night, whose teenage daughter was pregnant, who got fired at the factory and whose car dealership was struggling. Her specialty was scandal mongering, but truth be told, she usually had her facts right. Gossips have a reputation for being trivial and petty and often meanspirited. But is it possible that such babbling serves some valuable social purpose?
An Honest Wage: Dollars, Hours and Ethics
In the nation’s capital this month, Mayor Vincent Gray vetoed legislation that would have forced large retailers to pay more than the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour. Gray was under pressure from Wal-Mart, which threatened not to expand operations in Washington if the so-called “living wage” bill were passed. Passionate debate on the issue has dominated the local news for months. This debate took me back to when I was a young man, working in a thread factory for $1.60 an hour. That was the minimum wage at the time, just raised from $1.40 the year before. I was a student, living on nothing, so I didn’t need a living wage.