The effects of the sub-prime lending disaster are
being felt as the stock market has been rocked in
recent weeks and many families find themselves locked out of the
mortgage market. As we
in the past, the subprime mortgage market was largely aimed at
economically-strapped families trying to find some way to afford
homes. For low-income renters who never had the money to
even be in the game, rising rents have increasingly priced them
out of their homes.
Despite real progress over the last generation in overcoming discrimination in our society, the reality is that Americans are still regularly refused employment, housing or equal treatment under the law because of their nationality or the color of their skin. The numbers highlighting this racial discrimination are stark:
little fanfare, the New York General Assembly and Governor
Eliot Spitzer enacted a budget in early April that includes
care for essentially all children. The budget increased SCHIP
eligibility for children in families with incomes up to 400% of poverty
($80,000 for a family of four) and allows families above 400% without
other options to purchase the SCHIP coverage at full-cost, which is still
cheaper and likely more comprehensive than private options. Premiums for
families below 400% of poverty will be set at $20, $30 and $40 per child
depending on income.
last week that Washington was on the verge of becoming the second state to
enact family leave. The bill has now been signed by the Governor.
While the bill was a compromise, with lower weekly payments (up to $250 per
week) than is ideal and, unlike a House version originally approved, no
provision to allow paid family leave to care for a seriously ill parent, the
new law is a serious advance for parents needing the financial help to stay
home with a new child.
As the United States falls behind the
world in broadband deployment, a serious obstacle to reversing that slide, as
in February, is that we have
remarkably poor information on which neighborhoods and families have
broadband access and what the challenges are to overcoming the digital divide
in our communities.
This past week, the Washington State House voted to
five weeks of paid leave for parents with a new born or adopted child,
following earlier approval of a broader Senate measure,
5659, that would have also included paid leave to to take care of a
seriously ill parent. Another advantage of the law is that parents
in employers with 25 or more employees would have their jobs protected while
away, more job protection than under federal law which covers only employers
with 50 or more employees.
We spend more than twice on health care than any other industrialized nation in the world, yet we don't have universal access and our outcomes are worse. The reason we don't have universal access to quality health care is that too much of our health care spending -- our premiums, co-pays, prescriptions -- is wasted on profits, CEO bonuses and inefficient health care.
What if we told you that you could save money, energy, and carbon dioxide
emissions just by replacing your light bulbs? Many states are pushing
new policies to encourage or even require the replacement of traditional
wasteful incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) as a
key step to achieving energy independence.
Nations report this week, backed by scientists around the
world, confirms that not only is global warming real, but its effects are
already here and getting worse. And the hard fact is, the United States
far more energy than any other country, more than China and Russia
On April 3rd, Iowa Governor Chet Culver signed into law HF 653, which provides
Iowans with the opportunity to register and vote on Election Day. Governor
Here in Iowa , we want to make it as easy as possible for Iowans to be
involved in the democratic process. This bill achieves this goal. I strongly
believe getting more people to vote is good for democracy and good for the
future of this state.