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Asset Building News Week, September 10-14

September 14, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on 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 the latest on poverty data, health and financial security.

Editor's Note: This edition of Asset Building News Week was authored by our new fall intern, Elliot Schreur. Elliot is a Master's of Public Policy student at the George Washington University here in D.C. Please join us in welcoming Elliot!

Asset Building News Week, August 27-31

August 31, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on 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 childcare, food security, housing and foreclosures, and financial products.

Asset Building News Week, August 20-24

August 24, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on 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 the declining middle class, housing, the perils of lending, and connections between health and wealth.

Asset Building News Week, July 30 - August 3

August 3, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on 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 gaps in wealth and income, welfare, and savings.

Asset Building News Week, July 23 - 27

July 27, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on 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 poverty, consumer protection, and banking services.

Bottom 50% of Americans Owned Just 1.1% of All Wealth in 2010

July 20, 2012

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has a new report out analyzing the distribution of wealth in the U.S. Think Progress reports on one of the striking findings: the bottom 50% of Americans owned just 1.1% of all wealth in 2010 while the top 1% owned 34.5%. The CRS report illustrates yet again the importance of looking at wealth disparities as a key driver of inequality. While income and wealth do typically increase “in tandem, wealth is more concentrated than income.” Here’s a graph showing the trends in wealth ownership over the last two decades for the bottom half of Americans and the top 1%.

Asset Building News Week, July 16 - 20

July 20, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on 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 college financing, housing policy, consumer protection, and asset limits.

Funding Legal Aid is Essential to Preventing Foreclosures

July 19, 2012
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Earlier this summer, I wrote about the significant cuts to the budget of the Legal Services Corporation, which provides funding to around 137 legal aid programs with over nine hundred offices nationwide. These organizations provide crucial services to low-income communities, ranging from foreclosure prevention to domestic violence services to increasing access to public benefits.  LSC-funded programs employ approximately 58% of the attorneys working in the legal aid field. Legal aid programs support asset building by helping clients access basic necessities and maintain their existing assets—including most families’ greatest asset, the home. Unfortunately, insufficient funding has left legal aid organizations struggling, and most families facing foreclosure unrepresented. However, banks have an opportunity to make small changes that could have a big impact with respect to one of legal aid's major funding streams - the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts program.

The Inefficiency of the Mortgage Interest Deduction

July 18, 2012
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Matthew O’Brien over at The Atlantic had a piece up yesterday with the bold headline: “Why the Mortgage Interest Deduction is Terrible.” What he means (and does a solid job at explaining in the piece) is that the mortgage interest tax deduction primarily benefits homeowners in the top fifth of income earners. O’Brien writes, “We spend $100 billion every year -- that's the annual cost of the deduction -- subsidizing bigger houses for the upper middle class. This should be among the lowest of low-hanging fruit when it comes to tax reform. It would be nice to end welfare for the well-off.” He notes that the top 1% of earners (those making over half a million dollars a year) receive more benefit from the mortgage interest deduction than the entire bottom 56% of earners combined.

Asset Building News Week, July 9 - 13

July 13, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on 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 financial services, homeownership, and poverty.

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