The Los Angeles program received $38 million from the city. A small portion of the money comes from private funds.

According to city data, one-third of adults in Los Angeles are unable to support their families on income from full-time work alone.

“When you provide resources to families that are struggling, it can give them the breathing room to realize goals that many of us are fortunate enough to take for granted,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said when the program began.

That breathing room came at an opportune time for Ms. Barajas. After graduating from high school in 2017, she pushed aside dreams of college and began working a string of retail gigs — Claire’s, Old Navy, Walmart. She set aside $300 from her paycheck each month to help cover her family’s rent.

“I had to work,” she said. “We had no foundation, no money in our pockets.”

Last year, Ms. Barajas, 22, received funds from an extension of the child tax credit. She used some of the money for essentials like clothes and food.

On a recent afternoon in Chatsworth, a Los Angeles neighborhood, Ms. Barajas reflected on how the money from the guaranteed income program was helping her stay afloat. She moved out of her mother’s apartment in April, after an argument. Since then, she and her daughter, now 15 months old, have slept on friends’ couches and sometimes stayed at pay-by-the-week motels.

For now, they are living at a 90-day shelter for women and children. Ms. Barajas hopes to attend community college this fall, but is focused first on finding a job. Many mornings, she scrolls her iPhone looking at postings before her daughter wakes up.

Most of the money from the guaranteed-income payments goes toward food, diapers and clothing, but she’s trying to save several hundred dollars, enough for a security deposit for an apartment she hopes to move into with a friend.

“I’m one emergency away from having to spend money and then live on the streets and become homeless,” she said. “A lot of people are just hanging on with the smallest amount of wiggle room financially.”

Zohna Everett, who was part of the Stockton program, knows how it feels to live within that razor-thin margin.

Before the program began in 2019, she was driving for DoorDash five days a week, bringing in about $100 a day. Her husband at the time worked as a truck driver, and the rent for their two-bedroom apartment was $1,000. To help earn gas money, Ms. Everett sometimes collected recyclables and turned them in for cash.

“The money was a godsend,” Ms. Everett said of the Stockton program, adding that while enrolled in it, she got a contract job at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., on a production line.

Until then, Ms. Everett, 51, had been in a perpetual state of hustle, never stopping long enough to realize her exhaustion. After the payments started, she noticed she was sleeping better than she had in years.

“A weight truly was lifted from me,” she said.

The payments stopped during the pandemic, but she then received stimulus money from the federal government. She had started to save some money, but after a case of Covid left her with persistent fatigue and breathing problems, she recently took a leave from her Tesla job.

“With this pandemic, there is a lot of struggling,” she said. “There needs to be a permanent solution to help people.”

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Buffalo Tragedy Highlights Need For Black Mental Health Care Workers

In the aftermath of the Buffalo tragedy, health care workers were faced with another crisis: the need for diverse mental health professionals.

As Dr. Kenyani Davis makes her rounds at the Community Health Center in Buffalo, New York, she is still trying to process it all, after a mass shooter murdered 10 members of the neighborhood she serves.

“It’s a community that got affected, especially when you’re talking about a hate crime,” Dr. Davis said. “It was every emotion at once.”

In the days that followed, her team got to work — something they have always done.

“If they needed us in a medical component, we were there,” Dr. Davis said. “If they needed us as community leaders, we were there. If they needed us as friends, if they needed us just to create an open space, we were there.” 

Across the city, other organizations recognized the need for mental health services, too. 

“We were in the crowd with the community in front of Tops praying, crying, just being there, an ear for them to to express themselves,” said Melissa Archer, New York Project Hope program coordinator.

When it came to treatment, Archer, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, noticed people on the city’s east side, made up of mostly Black residents, were hesitant to seek help.   

“People want to see people that look like them so that they don’t have to explain certain things they feel,” Archer said.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only one in three Black adults with mental illness receives treatment.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness say that’s mostly due to socioeconomic challenges, stigma surrounding mental illness and mistrust of the medical industry. Black people are often victims of health care bias when those providing the treatment lack cultural awareness.  

“I think one of these things that this event has shed light on and empower people to do is to speak the truth,” Dr. Davis said. “When we were there, we had people saying, ‘We are angry at White people.”

For community leaders in Buffalo, that meant offering more counselors with shared experiences and cultures. 

Part of the healing process means meeting people where they are, and for some mental health professionals, that meant setting up shop two minutes from where the incident took place.

The Buffalo Urban League team says the numbers have increased since moving into the neighborhood and making more Black counselors readily available, all thanks to temporary funding from FEMA through New York Project Hope.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of racial/ethnic minorities within the psychologist workforce more than doubled between 2000 and 2019, increasing 166%. However, researchers predict that increase will still be inadequate to meet the demands of minority patients.

In the meantime, doctors there say they’ll continue to stand in the gap for as long as possible.

Source: newsy.com

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AP-NORC Poll: 2 In 10 Report Experience With Gun Violence

CDC data shows a spike in gun violence since the pandemic, with gun-related homicides increasing across the country in metro and rural areas.

About 2 in 10 U.S. adults say they or someone close to them has had a personal experience with gun violence, according to a recent poll that shows Black and Hispanic adults are especially likely to have had their lives touched by it.

The poll by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 54% of Black Americans and 27% of Hispanic Americans reported that they or a close friend or family member experienced gun violence in the last five years, compared with of 13% of white Americans. Overall, 21% of U.S. adults reported a personal tie to gun violence, such as being threatened by a gun or being a victim of a shooting.

Ebony Brown, a 39-year-old accountant in Atlanta, is among those who has seen gun violence touch those close to her. Her brother was shot to death in 2002 in Jacksonville, Florida, while visiting from college.

“He was at the right place at the wrong time,” said Brown, who is Black.

An acquaintance of a friend pulled a gun during an attempted robbery at a home and shot several people, including Brown’s brother, who she said died instantly. Another person also was slain.

Brown said she doesn’t consider herself a gun lover, but she’s worried enough about becoming a victim of gun violence herself that she’s considering getting a handgun.

“I’m really getting ready to get one. I’ve been to the range,” Brown said. “My dad is a police officer and he wants me to have it.”

The survey was conducted after a stretch of mass shootings across the U.S., from a grocery store in New York, an elementary school in Texas and a Fourth of July parade in Illinois — along with a smattering of incidents of gun violence in cities across the U.S. that don’t always make national news but leave local communities on edge.

Professor Jens Ludwig, who is director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab, said the 1 in 5 people with a friend or family member who was a victim of violence was a “strikingly high number.”

It shows that those who experience gun violence “aren’t the only victims,” he said.

Ludwig compared the way gun violence affects entire communities to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the people who died or became very ill from COVID-19 weren’t the only ones affected; kids were kept home from school, businesses closed, and people couldn’t see loved ones.

The same is true with gun violence, Ludwig said. “People are changing the way they live,” he said.

For example, he said, when people who can afford to leave cities where gun violence is a big problem move out in droves, it hurts everyone still there.

He cited Detroit as one example. Gun-related homicides increased from 2016 to 2020, from a rate of 37.6 per 100,000 people to 45.4 per 100,000 people, according to FBI data collected by the pro-gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. Black people were 2.1 times more likely to die by gun homicides than white people, according to the data.

Following a particularly violent summer weekend in Detroit that saw two dozen nonfatal shootings and seven homicides, Police Chief James White denounced the rising gun violence in the city and across the nation.

“We understand these numbers make media headlines, but to us they represent people,” White told reporters. “These represent families. This represents children. This represents husbands, wives, brothers and sisters. Our Detroit families are in pain. Neighbors near the gunfire are shaken and lives have been forever changed.”

While most Americans say they feel gun violence has increased nationwide and in their states, 59% of Black Americans and 45% of Hispanics said that gun violence is on the rise in their communities, compared with 34% of white Americans. Similarly, people living in urban areas are more likely to say gun violence is rising in their communities than those in suburban or rural areas, 51% to 39% to 27%.

That is in line with recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data has shown a spike in gun violence since the pandemic, with gun-related homicides increasing across the country in large and small metro areas and in rural areas. The data found Black people are disproportionately impacted by gun violence and are more likely to be the victims of gun crimes or homicides.

Brittany Samuels, a 31-year-old in Detroit, says she still carries physical scars from being shot at age 14 by her uncle, who she said was bipolar and schizophrenic, and fatally shot her grandmother, one of his coworkers and himself.

She said it has also shaped the way she thinks about gun violence and gun ownership, and she feels it is too easy for guns to get into the wrong hands.

Samuels, who is Black, said gun violence in her community has made her rethink where and when to go places, like skipping Detroit’s downtown entertainment district or certain gas stations as certain times.

“You don’t know if someone is going to rob you at gunpoint or if they are going to have a shootout in the middle of the gas station,” she said. “I don’t go when it’s dark — even if it’s in the morning. And you really won’t catch me at a gas station that’s not lit up.”

Diego Saldana, 30, of Baldwin Park, California, in the Los Angeles metro area, said he found himself facing a 9mm handgun during an attempted robbery six months ago. He feels gun violence is on the rise and believes it’s likely he will be a victim of gun violence again in the next five years.

“I think it’s due to the (poor) economy — people are desperate for easy money,” said Saldana, who is Mexican. “People … are stressing about stuff and expressing it with violence. Everybody is on edge.”

The poll of 1,373 adults was conducted July 28-Aug. 1 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Alabama Pastor Plans To Sue Over Arrest While Watering Flowers

One evening on a quiet residential street devolved into yet another potentially explosive situation involving a Black man and White law enforcement.

Michael Jennings wasn’t breaking any laws or doing anything that was obviously suspicious; the Black minister was simply watering the flowers of a neighbor who was out of town.

Yet there was a problem: Around the corner, Amber Roberson, who is White, thought she was helping that same neighbor when she saw a vehicle she didn’t recognize at the house and called police.

Within minutes, Jennings was in handcuffs, Roberson was apologizing for calling 911 and three officers were talking among themselves about how everything might have been different.

Harry Daniels, an attorney representing Jennings, said he plans to submit a claim to the city of Childersburg seeking damages and then file a lawsuit. “This should be a learned lesson and a training tool for law enforcement about what not to do,” he said.

A 20-minute video of the episode recorded on one of the officers’ body cameras shows how quickly an uneventful evening on a quiet residential street devolved into yet another potentially explosive situation involving a Black man and white law enforcement authorities.

___

“Whatcha doing here, man?” Officer Chris Smith asked as he walked up to Jennings, who held a hose with a stream of water falling on plants beside the driveway outside a small, white house.

“Watering flowers,” Jennings replied from a few feet away. Lawn decorations stood around a mailbox; fresh mulch covered the beds. It was more than an hour before sunset on a Sunday in late May, the kind of spring evening when people often are out tending plants.

Smith told Jennings that a caller said she saw a strange vehicle and a person who “wasn’t supposed to be here” at the house. Jennings told him the SUV he was talking about belonged to the neighbor who lives there.

“I’m supposed to be here,” he added. “I’m Pastor Jennings. I live across the street.”

“You’re Pastor Jennings?”

“Yes. I’m looking out for their house while they’re gone, watering their flowers,” said Jennings, still spraying water.

“OK, well, that’s cool. Do you have, like, ID?” Smith asked.

“Oh, no. Man, I’m not going to give you ID,” Jennings said, turning away.

“Why not?” Smith asked.

“I ain’t did nothing wrong,” the pastor replied.

___

Jennings, 56, was born in rural Alabama just three years after George C. Wallace pledged “segregation forever” at the first of his four inaugurations as governor. His parents grew up during a time when racial segregation was the law and Black people were expected to act with deference to white people in the South.

“I know the backdrop,” Jennings said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the officers who confronted him on May 22 work for a majority-White town of about 4,700 people that’s located 55 miles southeast of Birmingham down U.S. 280. White people control city hall and the police department.

Jennings went into the ministry not long after graduating from high school and hasn’t strayed far from his birthplace of nearby Sylacauga, where he leads Vision of Abundant Life Ministries, a small, nondenominational church, when not doing landscaping work or selling items online. In 1991, he said, he worked security and then trained to be a police officer in a nearby town but left before taking the job full time.

“That’s how I knew the law,” he said.

Alabama law allows police to ask for the name of someone in a public place when there’s reasonable suspicion the person has committed or is about to commit a crime. But that doesn’t mean a man innocently watering flowers at a neighbor’s home must provide identification when asked by an officer, according to Hank Sherrod, a civil rights lawyer who reviewed the full police video at the request of the AP.

“This is an area of the law that is pretty clear,” said Sherrod, who has handled similar cases in north Alabama, where he practices.

___

Cuffed and seated between two shrubs on the front stoop of his neighbor’s home, Jennings told Smith and Gable how his son, a university athletics administrator, had been wrongly “arrested and profiled” in Michigan after a young woman at a cheerleading competition said a Black man had hugged her.

Jennings said he felt “anger and fear” during his interaction with the Alabama police officers not only because of what happened to his son but due to the accumulated weight of past police killings — George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others — plus lower-profile incidents and shootings in Alabama.

“That’s why I didn’t resist,” he said.

___

Jennings was already in the back of a patrol car by the time Roberson, the White woman who called police, emerged. Jennings, she told officers, was a neighbor and a friend of the home’s owner, Roy Milam.

“OK. Does he have permission here to be watering flowers?” Smith asked.

“He may, because they are friends,” she replied. “They went out of town today. He may be watering their flowers. It would be completely normal.”

Milam told the AP that was exactly what happened: He’d asked Jennings to water his wife’s flowers while they were camping in the Tennessee mountains for a few days.

A few moments later, officers told Roberson that a license plate check showed the gold sport utility vehicle that prompted her call in the first place belonged to Milam. They got Jennings out of the patrol car and he told them his first and last name.

“I didn’t know it was him,” Roberson told police. “I’m sorry about that.”

___

The officers spent much of their remaining time on the scene in a discussion that began with a question from Smith: “What are we going to do with him?”

After weighing different options, they settled on a charge of obstructing governmental operations that was thrown out within days in city court. The police chief who sought the dismissal after reviewing the 911 call and bodycam video, Richard McClelland, resigned earlier this month. City officials haven’t said why he quit, but city attorney Reagan Rumsey said it had nothing to do with what happened to Jennings.

Childersburg’s interim police chief, Capt. Kevin Koss, didn’t return emails seeking comment.

___

Michael Jennings is still friends with Milam, the neighbor with the flowers. Milam, who is White, said he feels bad about what happened, and the two men will continue watching out for each other’s homes, just as they’ve done for years.

“He is a good neighbor, definitely. No doubt about it,” Milam said.

Jennings also recently spoke with Roberson for the first time since the arrest.

The pastor, who lives less than a third of a mile from the police station, said he has not seen any of the three officers who were involved in his arrest since that day. He believes all three should be fired or at least disciplined.

“I feel a little paranoid,” he said.

Nonetheless, he still waves at police cars passing through his neighborhood, partly out of the Christian call to be kind to others.

“You’re supposed to love your neighbor, no matter what,” he said. “But you’ve heard the saying, ‘Keep your enemies close to you, too.'”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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White House Sends Extra Monkeypox Vaccines Ahead Of Pride Events

The White House is sending tens of thousands of monkeypox vaccine doses to areas hosting Labor Day pride events.

Federal and state health officials are sharing their plans to prevent Labor Day pride events from becoming monkeypox super spreaders.

The White House monkeypox response team says they’re sending an extra 6,000 vaccine doses to the Southern Decadence event in New Orleans, 2,400 extra to Pridefest in Oakland, California and 5,500 doses to Atlanta Black Pride in Georgia.

“It was a great opportunity to get folks ready for the event in terms of getting vaccines on the ground early, but also a great opportunity to reach people who don’t feel comfortable in a clinic but do feel comfortable in less stigmatizing spaces that can occur in the events,” said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, White House national monkeypox response deputy coordinator.

It comes as Texas health officials confirm the first U.S. monkeypox death. They say an adult patient in the Houston area also was severely immunocompromised. An autopsy is expected in the next few weeks.

“Death is possible due to monkeypox but remains rare,” said Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, the CDC’s monkeypox response incident manager.

Anyone can get monkeypox. The World Health Organization and the CDC say gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men make up the majority of the cases.

In the U.S., cases are slowly trending down compared to July.

The WHO say the Americas accounted for 60% of global monkeypox cases in the past month. 

“There are encouraging early signs, as evidenced in France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and other countries that the outbreak may be slowing,” said Hans Kluge, WHO Europe regional director.

Federal officials are cautiously optimistic, but challenges remain, like getting vaccines equally distributed. About 10% of monkeypox vaccine doses have been given to Black people. They account for one-third of U.S. cases, according to the CDC.

The FDA also recently green lit a different method for giving the JYNNEOS shot: underneath the skin, but not as deep in the muscle. Federal officials say that should help get two doses of the vaccine to the 1.6 million people in the U.S. who are most at risk of contracting the virus.

Source: newsy.com

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Biden Announces Long-Awaited Student Debt Forgiveness Plan

President Biden is also extending a pause on federal student loan payments for what he called the “final time” through the end of 2022.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced his long-awaited plan to deliver on his campaign promise to provide $10,000 in debt cancellation for millions of Americans — and up to $10,000 more for those with the greatest financial need.

Borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year, or families earning less than $250,000, would be eligible for the $10,000 loan forgiveness, President Biden announced in a tweet. For recipients of Pell Grants, which are reserved for undergraduates with the most significant financial need, the federal government would cancel up to an additional $10,000 in federal loan debt.

President Biden is also extending a pause on federal student loan payments for what he called the “final time” through the end of 2022. He was set to deliver remarks Wednesday afternoon at the White House to unveil his proposal to the public.

If his plan survives legal challenges that are almost certain to come, it could offer a windfall to a swath of the nation in the run-up to this fall’s midterm elections. More than 43 million people have federal student debt, with an average balance of $37,667, according to federal data. Nearly a third of borrowers owe less than $10,000, and about half owe less than $20,000. The White House estimates that President Biden’s announcement would erase the federal student debt of about 20 million people.

Proponents say cancellation will narrow the racial wealth gap — Black students are more likely to borrow federal student loans and at higher amounts than others. Four years after earning bachelor’s degrees, Black borrowers owe an average of nearly $25,000 more than their White peers, according to a Brookings Institution study.

Still, the action is unlikely to thrill any of the factions that have been jostling for influence as President President Biden weighs how much to cancel and for whom.

President Biden has faced pressure from liberals to provide broader relief to hard-hit borrowers, and from moderates and Republicans questioning the fairness of any widespread forgiveness. The delay in his decision has only heightened the anticipation for what his own aides acknowledge represents a political no-win situation. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss President Biden’s intended announcement ahead of time.

The continuation of the coronavirus pandemic-era payment freeze comes just days before millions of Americans were set to find out when their next student loan bills will be due. This is the closest the administration has come to hitting the end of the payment freeze extension, with the current pause set to end Aug. 31.

Details of the plan have been kept closely guarded as President Biden weighed his options. The administration said Wednesday the Education Department will release information in the coming weeks for eligible borrowers to sign up for debt relief. Cancellation for some would be automatic, if the department has access to their income information, but others would need to fill out a form.

Current students would only be eligible for relief if their loans were originated before July 1, 2022. President Biden is also set to propose capping the amount that borrowers pay monthly on undergraduate loans at 5% of their earnings.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, President Biden was initially skeptical of student loan debt cancellation as he faced off against more progressive candidates for the Democratic nomination. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders had proposed cancellations of $50,000 or more.

As he tried to shore up support among younger voters and prepare for a general election battle against President Donald Trump, President Biden unveiled his initial proposal for debt cancellation of $10,000 per borrower, with no mention of an income cap.

President Biden narrowed his campaign promise in recent months by embracing the income limit as soaring inflation took a political toll and as he aimed to head off political attacks that the cancellation would benefit those with higher take-home pay. But Democrats, from members of congressional leadership to those facing tough reelection bids this November, have pushed the administration to go as broad as possible on debt relief, seeing it in part as a galvanizing issue, particularly for Black and young voters this fall.

Democrats are betting that President Biden, who has seen his public approval tumble over the past year, can help motivate younger voters to the polls with the announcement.

Although President Biden’s plan is changed from what he initially proposed during the campaign, “he’ll get a lot of credit for following through on something that he was committed to,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who worked with President Biden during the 2020 election.

A survey of 18- to 29-year-olds conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics in March found that 59% of those polled favored debt cancellation of some sort — whether for all borrowers or those most in need — although student loans did not rank high among issues that most concerned people in that age group.

Some advocates say President Biden’s plan still falls short.

“If the rumors are true, we’ve got a problem,” Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, which has aggressively lobbied President Biden to take bolder action, said Tuesday.

“President Biden’s decision on student debt cannot become the latest example of a policy that has left Black people — especially Black women — behind,” he said. “This is not how you treat Black voters who turned out in record numbers and provided 90% of their vote to once again save democracy in 2020.”

John Della Volpe, who worked as a consultant on President Biden’s campaign and is the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, said the particulars of President Biden’s announcement were less important than the decision itself.

“It’s about trust in politics, in government, in our system. It’s also about trust in the individual, which in this case is President Biden,” Della Volpe said.

Republicans, meanwhile, see a political upside if President Biden pursues a large-scale cancellation of student debt ahead of the November midterms, anticipating backlash for Democrats — particularly in states where there are large numbers of working-class voters without college degrees. Critics of broad student debt forgiveness also believe it will open the White House to lawsuits, on the grounds that Congress has never given the president the explicit authority to cancel debt on his own.

The Republican National Committee on Tuesday blasted President Biden’s expected announcement as a “handout to the rich,” claiming it would unfairly burden lower-income taxpayers and those who have already paid off their student loans with covering the costs of higher education for the wealthy.

President Biden’s long deliberations have led to grumbling among federal loan servicers, who had been instructed to hold back billing statements while President Biden weighed a decision.

Industry groups had complained that the delayed decision left them with just days to notify borrowers, retrain customer service workers and update websites and digital payment systems, said Scott Buchanan, executive director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance.

It increases the risk that some borrowers will inadvertently be told they need to make payments, he said.

“At this late stage I think that’s the risk we’re running,” he said. “You can’t just turn on a dime with 35 million borrowers who all have different loan types and statuses.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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What Will Happen to Black Workers’ Gains if There’s a Recession?

Black Americans have been hired much more rapidly in the wake of the pandemic shutdowns than after previous recessions. But as the Federal Reserve tries to soften the labor market in a bid to tame inflation, economists worry that Black workers will bear the brunt of a slowdown — and that without federal aid to cushion the blow, the impact could be severe.

Some 3.5 million Black workers lost or left their jobs in March and April 2020. In weeks, the unemployment rate for Black workers soared to 16.8 percent, the same as the peak after the 2008 financial crisis, while the rate for white workers topped out at 14.1 percent.

Since then, the U.S. economy has experienced one of its fastest rebounds ever, one that has extended to workers of all races. The Black unemployment rate was 6 percent last month, just above the record low of late 2019. And in government data collected since the 1990s, wages for Black workers are rising at their fastest pace ever.

first laid off during a downturn and the last hired during a recovery.

William Darity Jr., a Duke University professor who has studied racial gaps in employment, says the problem is that the only reliable tool the Fed uses to fight inflation — increasing interest rates — works in part by causing unemployment. Higher borrowing costs make consumers less likely to spend and employers less likely to invest, reducing pressure on prices. But that also reduces demand for workers, pushing joblessness up and wages down.

“I don’t know that there’s any existing policy option that’s plausible that would not result in hurting some significant portion of the population,” Mr. Darity said. “Whether it’s inflation or it’s rising unemployment, there’s a disproportionate impact on Black workers.”

In a paper published last month, Lawrence H. Summers, a former Treasury secretary and top economic adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, asserted with his co-authors that the Fed would need to allow the overall unemployment rate to rise to 5 percent or above — it is now 3.5 percent — to bring inflation under control. Since Black unemployment is typically about double that of white workers, that suggests that the rate for Black workers would approach or reach double digits.

The Washington Post and an accompanying research paper, Jared Bernstein — now a top economic adviser to President Biden — laid out the increasingly popular argument that in light of this, the Fed “should consider targeting not the overall unemployment rate, but the Black rate.”

Fed policy, he added, implicitly treats 4 percent unemployment as a long-term goal, but “because Black unemployment is two times the overall rate, targeting 4 percent for the overall economy means targeting 8 percent for blacks.”

news conference last month. “That’s not going to happen without restoring price stability.”

Some voices in finance are calling for smaller and fewer rate increases, worried that the Fed is underestimating the ultimate impact of its actions to date. David Kelly, the chief global strategist for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, believes that inflation is set to fall considerably anyway — and that the central bank should exhibit greater patience, as remnants of pandemic government stimulus begin to vanish and household savings further dwindle.

“The economy is basically treading water right now,” Mr. Kelly said, adding that officials “don’t need to put us into a recession just to show how tough they are on inflation.”

Michelle Holder, a labor economist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, similarly warned against the “statistical fatalism” that halting labor gains is the only way forward. Still, she said, she’s fully aware that under current policy, trade-offs between inflation and job creation are likely to endure, disproportionately hurting Black workers. Interest rate increases, she said, are the Fed’s primary tool — its hammer — and “a hammer sees everything as a nail.”

having the federal government guarantee a job to anyone who wants one. Some economists support less ambitious policies, such as expanded benefits to help people who lose jobs in a recession. But there is little prospect that Congress would adopt either approach, or come to the rescue again with large relief checks — especially given criticism from many Republicans, and some high-profile Democrats, that excessive aid in the pandemic contributed to inflation today.

“The tragedy will be that our administration won’t be able to help the families or individuals that need it if another recession happens,” Ms. Holder said.

Morgani Brown, 24, lives and works in Charlotte, N.C., and has experienced the modest yet meaningful improvements in job quality that many Black workers have since the initial pandemic recession. She left an aircraft cleaning job with Jetstream Ground Services at Charlotte Douglas International Airport last year because the $10-an-hour pay was underwhelming. But six months ago, the work had become more attractive.

has recently cut back its work force. (An Amazon official noted on a recent earnings call that the company had “quickly transitioned from being understaffed to being overstaffed.”)

Ms. Brown said she and her roommates hoped that their jobs could weather any downturn. But she has begun hearing more rumblings about people she knows being fired or laid off.

“I’m not sure exactly why,” she said.

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Student Loan Help For Millions Coming From Biden After Delay

The precise details of President Biden’s plan were reportedly still not finalized on the eve of the announcement.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday is set to announce his long-delayed move to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loans for many Americans and extend a pause on payments to January, according to three people familiar with the plan.

President Biden has faced pressure from liberals to provide broader relief to hard-hit borrowers, and from moderates and Republicans questioning the fairness of any widespread forgiveness. The delay in Biden’s decision has only heightened the anticipation for what his own aides acknowledge represents a political no-win situation. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss Biden’s intended announcement ahead of time.

The precise details of President Biden’s plan, which will include an income cap limiting the forgiveness to only those earning less than $125,000 a year, were being kept to an unusually small circle within the Biden administration and were still not finalized on the eve of the announcement.

Down-to-the-wire decision-making has been a hallmark of the Biden White House, but the particular delay on student loans reflects the vexing challenge confronting him in fulfilling a key campaign promise.

The plan would likely eliminate student debt entirely for millions of Americans and wipe away at least half for millions more.

The nation’s federal student debt now tops $1.6 trillion after ballooning for years. More than 43 million Americans have federal student debt, with almost a third owing less than $10,000 and more than half owing less than $20,000, according to the latest federal data.

The continuation of the pandemic-era payment freeze comes just days before millions of Americans were set to find out when their next student loan bills will be due. This is the closest the administration has come to hitting the end of the payment freeze extension, with the current pause set to end Aug. 31.

Wednesday’s announcement was set for the White House after President Biden returns from vacation in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The administration had briefly considered higher education schools in the president’s home state for a larger reveal, but scaled back their plans.

President Biden was initially skeptical of student loan debt cancellation as he faced off against more progressive Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who had proposed cancellations of $50,000 or more, during the 2020 primaries.

As he tried to shore up support among younger voters and prepare for a general election battle against then-President Donald Trump, candidate Biden unveiled his initial proposal for debt cancellation of $10,000 per borrower, with no mention of an income cap.

President Biden narrowed his campaign promise in recent months by embracing the income limit as soaring inflation took a political toll and as he aimed to head off political attacks that the cancellation would benefit those with higher take-home pay. But Democrats, from members of congressional leadership to those facing tough re-election bids this November, have pushed the administration to go as broad as possible on debt relief, seeing it in part as a galvanizing issue, particularly for Black and young voters this fall.

The frenzied last-minute lobbying continued Tuesday even as President Biden remained on his summer vacation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., one of the loudest advocates in recent years for canceling student loan debt, spoke privately on the phone with Biden, imploring the president to forgive as much debt as the administration can, according to a Democrat with knowledge of the call.

In his pitch, Schumer argued to President Biden that doing so was the right thing to do morally and economically, said the Democrat, who asked for anonymity to describe a private conversation.

Inside the administration, officials have discussed since at least early summer forgiving more than $10,000 of student debt for certain categories of borrowers, such as Pell Grant recipients, according to three people with knowledge of the deliberations. That remained one of the final variables being considered by President Biden heading into Wednesday’s announcement.

Democrats are betting that President Biden, who has seen his public approval rating tumble over the last year, can help motivate younger voters to the polls in November with the announcement.

Although President Biden’s plan is narrower than what he initially proposed during the campaign, “he’ll get a lot of credit for following through on something that he was committed to,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who worked with Biden during the 2020 election.

She described student debt as a “gateway issue” for younger voters, meaning it affects their views and decisions on housing affordability and career choices. A survey of 18- to 29-year-olds conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics in March found that 59% of those polled favored debt cancellation of some sort — whether for all borrowers or those most in need — although student loans did not rank high among issues that most concerned people in that age group.

Some advocates were already bracing for disappointment.

“If the rumors are true, we’ve got a problem,” Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, which has aggressively lobbied President Biden to take bolder action, said Tuesday. He emphasized that Black students face higher debut burdens than white students.

“President Biden’s decision on student debt cannot become the latest example of a policy that has left Black people — especially Black women — behind,” he said. “This is not how you treat Black voters who turned out in record numbers and provided 90% of their vote to once again save democracy in 2020.”

John Della Volpe, who worked as a consultant on President Biden’s campaign and is the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, said the particulars of President Biden’s announcement were less important than the decision itself.

“It’s about trust in politics, in government, in our system. It’s also about trust in the individual, which in this case is President Biden.”

Combined with fears about expanding abortion restrictions and Trump’s reemergence on the political scene, Della Volpe said student debt forgiveness “adds an additional tailwind to an already improving position with young people.”

Republicans, meanwhile, see only political upside if President Biden pursues a large-scale cancellation of student debt ahead of the November midterms, anticipating backlash for Democrats — particularly in states where there are large numbers of working-class voters without college degrees. Critics of broad student debt forgiveness also believe it will open the White House to lawsuits, on the grounds that Congress has never given the president the explicit authority to cancel debt on his own.

The Republican National Committee on Tuesday blasted President Biden’s expected announcement as a “handout to the rich,” claiming it would unfairly burden lower-income taxpayers and those who have already paid off their student loans with covering the costs of higher education for the wealthy.

“My neighbor, a detective, worked 3 jobs (including selling carpet) & his wife worked to make sure their daughter got quality college degree w/no student debt,” Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, tweeted Tuesday. “Big sacrifice. Now their taxes must pay off someone else’s student debt?”

President Biden’s elongated deliberations have sent federal loan servicers, who have been instructed to hold back billing statements while he weighed a decision, grumbling.

Industry groups had complained that the delayed decision left them with just days to notify borrowers, retrain customer service workers and update websites and digital payment systems, said Scott Buchanan, executive director of the Student Loan Servicing Alliance.

It increases the risk that some borrowers will inadvertently be told they need to make payments, he said.

“At this late stage I think that’s the risk we’re running,” he said. “You can’t just turn on a dime with 35 million borrowers who all have different loan types and statuses.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Biden To Host Unity Summit Against Hate-Fueled Violence

By Associated Press
August 19, 2022

Biden will deliver a keynote speech at the event, which the White House says will include civil rights groups and victims of extremist violence.

President Joe Biden will host a White House summit next month aimed at combating a spate of hate-fueled violence in the U.S., as he works to deliver on his campaign pledge to “heal the soul of the nation.”

The White House announced Friday that President Biden will host the United We Stand Summit on Sept. 15, highlighting the “corrosive effects” of violence on public safety and democracy. Advocates pushed President Biden to hold the event after 10 Black people were killed at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket in May, aiming as well to address a succession of hate-driven violence in cities including El Paso, Texas; Pittsburgh; and Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

“As President Biden said in Buffalo after the horrific mass shooting earlier this year, in the battle for the soul of our nation ‘we must all enlist in this great cause of America,'” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “The United We Stand Summit will present an important opportunity for Americans of all races, religions, regions, political affiliations, and walks of life to take up that cause together.”

President Biden will deliver a keynote speech at the gathering, which the White House says will include civil rights groups, faith leaders, business executives, law enforcement, gun violence prevention advocates, former members of violent hate groups, the victims of extremist violence and cultural figures. The White House emphasized that it also intends to bring together Democrats and Republicans, as well as political leaders on the federal, state and local levels to unite against hate-motivated violence.

President Biden, a Democrat, has frequently cited 2017’s white supremacist protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, with bringing him out of political retirement to challenge then-President Donald Trump in 2020. He promised during that campaign to work to bridge political and social divides and to promote national unity, but fulfilling that cause remains a work in progress.

Sindy Benavides, the CEO of League of United Latin American Citizens, said the genesis of the summit came after the Buffalo massacre, as her organization along with the Anti-Defamation League, the National Action Network and other groups wanted to press the Biden administration to more directly tackle extremist threats.

“As civil rights organizations, social justice organizations, we fight every day against this, and we wanted to make sure to acknowledge that government needs to have a leading role in addressing right-wing extremism,” she said.

The White House did not outline the lineup of speakers or participants, saying it would come closer to the event. It also would not preview any specific policy announcements by President Biden. Officials noted Biden last year signed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and released the nation’s first National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.

Benavides said President Biden holding the summit would help galvanize the country to address the threats of hate-inspired violence but also said she hoped for “long-term solutions” to emerge from the summit.

“What’s important to us is addressing mental health, gun control reform, addressing misinformation, disinformation and malinformation,” she said. “We want policy makers to focus on common sense solutions so we don’t see this type of violence in our communities. And we want to see the implementation of policies that reduce violence.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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