By Allison Charette, Research Analyst
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- In an event hosted by the Center for American Progress (CAP) yesterday, President Obama spoke about rising income inequality and laid out a plan to combat it. First, job creation can be improved through simplifying the corporate tax code and unwinding the harmful sequestration cuts. Next, high-quality education must be available for all children and incomes should be comparable to costs-of-living. The President also emphasized his support for programs that target communities hit hardest by the Great Recession like the Promise Zones initiative. (CAP, December 4)
- As part of a housing experiment, a vacant lot in Washington, DC is being used to build tiny houses, no larger than 200 square feet. Affordable housing has recently become scarce in the District with home prices jumping 15.7 percent in the last five years and 57 percent of residents renting their homes. While not a solution to the city’s affordable housing shortage, the tiny home strategy could have some success in high-cost, dense urban settings. (The Atlantic Cities, December 3)
- In compliance with the terms of the National Mortgage Settlement, the lending practices of Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Ally/GMAC and Wells Fargo are closely examined using 29 metrics. According to the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight, there were six failures in the first quarter of 2013 and one failure in the second quarter. The banks are now developing plans to correct these failures for future testing. (DS News, December 4)
- The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a forum Wednesday on Supporting America’s Lower-Middle-Class Families. The event featured panel discussions on two proposals for assisting struggling households: strengthening SNAP (food stamp program) to fight food insecurity and tax breaks for secondary earners. Overall, the increase in struggling lower-middle-class families suggests that it is not “non-virtuous” action that leads to poverty, but a lack of living wages, consistent work, and an adequate safety net. (The Hamilton Project at Brookings, December 4)