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Asset Building News Week, Mar 12-16

March 16, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on the The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include young adult unemployment, student loan debt, banking products, asset building at tax time, and the racial wealth gap.

Terminal Sickness

  • By
  • Lina Khan,
  • Phillip Longman,
  • New America Foundation
March 12, 2012 |

It was certainly one of the hardest choices that I’ve ever made,” explained Fernando Aguirre. He’d raised his family and built his career in Cincinnati, Ohio, rising through the ranks of the city’s business elite, first as an executive at Procter & Gamble’s headquarters and later as CEO and chairman of Chiquita Brands International. Along the way, he became a fanatical fan and part owner of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, as well as a proud sponsor of the Chiquita Classic golf tournament, the proceeds from which he poured into local philanthropies.

Can Long Beach Prove that Bikes Are Good for Business?

  • By
  • Mark Hertsgaard,
  • New America Foundation
January 11, 2012 |

Look out, Minneapolis and Portland. Long Beach is making its move, aiming to surpass you as America's Most Bike Friendly City. Does that sound odd for a city whose chief claim to environmental fame has been its massively polluting port and offshore oil facilities—not to mention a city that, like the rest of Southern California, has long been in thrall of the car?

Banking On Bikes

December 19, 2011
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Thanks to a new partnership between Capital Bikeshare, Bank on DC, United Bank, and the District Government Employees Federal Credit Union (DGEFCU), previously unbanked Washington, D.C. residents now have the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: sign up for a debit or credit card and access a growing regional network of shareable bikes. An announcement from DDOT reads, “The partnership was conceived to promote a healthy and environmentally-friendly form of transit, along with the benefits of financial stability and security.”  In exchange for opening an account with the participating institutions, Bank On DC account holders get a $25 discount off an annual membership for Capital Bikeshare (bringing the cost to $50). While it will be interesting to see if this reduced rate is affordable for the target population, the initiative is an exciting example of creative thinking and cross-sector collaboration.

Upcoming Event: Keeping Commuters Out of Poverty

October 20, 2011
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Here at the Asset Building Program, we believe that helping people build their savings and assets will allow them to get (and stay) out of poverty. The recession has been hard on low and middle income Americans, especially those who commute to work in a car. When gas prices rise, they are forced to cut spending in other areas (food, medicine, education, etc) in order to pay for gasoline.

Making Low-Interest Auto Loans Work

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
August 16, 2011 |

Last week I wrote about the New England-based program More Than Wheels, which helps people get low-interest loans on new or good used cars, and allows them to save money on repairs, gas and financing. Most of the commenters — especially those who live in rural areas — liked the idea of the program, but there were a few persistent questions and issues:

Are cars necessary?

On the Road, and Out of the Red

  • By
  • Lisa Margonelli,
  • New America Foundation
August 11, 2011 |

In March 2010, Tammy Trahan’s 1993 Jeep Cherokee broke down on one of the New Hampshire back roads that made up her 90-mile daily commute. “I was in tears,” says Tammy, “I wanted to drive into the river.” As a single mom, the car was her lifeline, taking her to the job that kept her and her family barely afloat. But the car was also dragging her down. Because a bad divorce had left her with terrible credit, she’d paid such high interest rates that the car with a $9000 sticker price when she bought it seven years earlier ended up costing her $20,000 in payments.

L.A.'s Way Is the Freeway

  • By
  • Gregory Rodriguez,
  • New America Foundation
July 11, 2011 |

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's office released a mildly amusing list of 53 suggestions for surviving "Carmageddon," one for every hour the 405 will be closed this weekend between the 10 and the 101. In the hope that you'll stay off the streets — please! for God's sake! — the list suggests planting a tree, shopping online (from county-based stores, of course), throwing a block party.

The Case for Not-Quite-So-High-Speed Rail

  • By
  • Phillip Longman,
  • New America Foundation
July 8, 2011 |

After concluding some business in Frankfurt, Germany, recently, I found myself with a day to kill and decided to use it to tour the historic Cologne Cathedral, about 120 miles away. I could have rented a car and driven through traffic on the autobahn for about two hours, but instead I decided to walk a few blocks from my hotel and board Intercity-Express #616. The sleek bullet train left Frankfurt's magnificent nineteenth-century main terminal on time and sped along a super-engineered, beeline right-of-way completed in 2002 at a cost of $5.6 billion.

Adjust Your Seat Backs, Tray Tables...and Attitudes

  • By
  • Andrés Martinez,
  • New America Foundation
March 8, 2011 |

I am typing this in Seat 21 E, on American Flight 1243 from Washington National to Miami. It’s a packed Boeing 737, and the “E” in 21 E, a middle seat, might as well stand for “excruciating.” Flying these days amounts to a series of skirmishes for space. There’s the scramble for the overhead compartment; the flexing of legs and knees to limit the backward surge of the seat in the next row up; and, for me in 21E, the maneuvering of my left elbow to outflank the wily right elbow of 21D to gain command of the back fifth of the armrest.

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