Rent for poorest Americans really is too damn high

first_imgSchuetz suggests expanding government rental assistance, which is currently not distributed very widely.That’s a good idea, but it’s important to remember that giving more poor people housing vouchers will tend to raise rents overall — some of the benefit of government assistance will accrue to landlords.Another idea is to build more housing.Zoning and other development restrictions should be relaxed. Incentives should also be put in place to encourage smaller units.This supply-based policy would complement the demand-based measure of better housing subsidies, giving poor Americans more places to live, and helping them pay for those dwellings.A third component of reform should directly attack the harms of housing insecurity. Eviction should be restricted.A simple idea is to make landlords give tenants a much longer notice before evicting them. Larimore and Schuetz find that the average household in the bottom fifth has only $476 to spend every month after paying rent.This is down from about $600 a month at the turn of the century, in inflation-adjusted terms.Imagine having to feed and clothe a family, commute to and from work, and keep the heater running on $476 a month!Fortunately, that number doesn’t include government assistance.Schuetz estimates that a low-income household may also receive about $333 a month in food stamps and $417 a month in earned income tax credits.That’s in addition to other benefits they may receive, such as health care, child-care assistance, unemployment insurance, Social Security disability payments and others.Those programs can and should be increased. Categories: Editorial, OpinionAre poor Americans doing better than they used to, or worse? It’s hard to know, because so many important things in life — social status, emotional health, human relationships — can’t be measured.But in purely material terms, many things have improved. Though a substantial number of Americans of all income groups are homeowners, poor Americans are more likely to rent.In real terms, the rent paid by low-income households has risen modestly — about 9 percent.Meanwhile, real income for the bottom fifth fell by about the same amount.Squeezed between smaller paychecks and higher rents, the poor have less and less money each month to spend.Larimore and Schuetz estimate that poor American households pay more than 55 percent of their earnings in rent, compared with less than 30 percent for households in the second-lowest quintile.Despite much public outcry over rising rents in the U. S., most non-poor households are still able to afford shelter without a severe economic burden.More money spent on rent means less for everything else. But as Schuetz notes, those big rent burdens harm poor households in ways not reflected in their cash spending.When you pay more than half of your income in rent, even a small or temporary dip in earning can be enough to put you out on the street.As Harvard University sociologist Matthew Desmond documented in his book “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” the experience of being kicked out of one’s home is a shattering one — and, sadly, one that is increasingly common.It imposes huge costs on the family being evicted — they have to find temporary housing, find a new place to live, pay the cost of moving, and establish new commuting and shopping patterns, all while either holding down a job or searching for one.Small wonder, then, that lack of affordable housing leaves permanent scars on children who experience it.Having a secure place to sleep is one of the most basic human needs — it has not changed since the first caveman crawled under a rock to escape the rain.So how can the U.S. solve the housing problem for its poorer citizens? Homelessness is down.Government assistance to families with children has lowered the official child poverty rate.Hunger has fallen as well.Though the country doesn’t do a great job at providing the poor with health care, things have improved marginally since the Affordable Care Act went into effect.What’s more, most of the poor now possess items that you would find in most middle-class households.According to a 2011 Census report, 53 percent of households in the lowest income quintile have a computer, 65 percent have a clothes dryer, and 38 percent have a washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and a telephone.But there is at least one way in which poor American families are being increasingly squeezed — the rent. A new research note from the Federal Reserve Board’s Jeff Larrimore and Jenny Schuetz of the Brookings Institution shows a combination of rising rents and falling incomes among the poorest fifth of households. Now, most U.S. states allow landlords to evict tenants for nonpayment of rent after just a few days.If landlords had to give a longer notice — perhaps a month of lead time — it would shift some risk to the property owner, and give poor families time to find new arrangements.Landlords would respond to that risk by increasing rents, of course, but with eviction protections a rental increase is less dangerous.So in order to improve the lives of the country’s poor, there should be more focus on housing.Little action is likely at the federal level, but state and local governments can do a lot to help their least advantaged citizens have an easier time keeping a roof over their heads.Noah Smith, a Bloomberg View columnist, was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University. He blogs at Noahpinion.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationlast_img read more

Parents must teach kids responsibility

first_imgIt’s a shame parents are looking to the government to solve the problems of shootings at schools and their children getting into trouble. Parents should be held responsible for raising their children, not the usual excuse — I pay taxes, you do it.It seems that nowadays the kids are always right and the authorities are always wrong. Parents are always taking the kids’ side. I would like to share this list of “How to Raise a Crook.”1) Give him anything he wants. This way, he’ll grow up to believe that the world owes him a living.2) Never give him spiritual training. Wait until he’s 21 and let him decide for himself. 3) Avoid using the word “wrong.” It might make him feel guilty and his school work may suffer.4) Don’t make him work at home. Do his work for him so he’ll learn at an early age to leave responsibility to others.5) Let him watch anything he wants so he can learn from television how to get along in the world.6) Give him spending money so he won’t be frustrated by having to earn it himself.7) Don’t make rules for him. You might make him angry at you.8) When he gets bad grades, blame the teacher.9) When he loses his job, blame the boss. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinioncenter_img 10) When he gets caught drunk driving, blame his friends.11) Let him experiment with sex, drugs and alcohol.12) Buy him a car as soon as he can drive.If parents can’t discipline their kids, how can anyone else expect to?Frank J. KakelyWiltonMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Police: Schenectady woman tried to take car in Clifton Park hours after arrest, release in prior the…last_img read more

Government shows its inconsistency

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion I won’t debate the doubtful merits of solar energy here, but I find it hard to justify the destruction of growing trees and grasslands to do it.They seem to think it’s OK because it won’t be visible to the public. Why not at least put panels on rooftops, or in parking lots, as at GE?  No mention of the benefits of the trees that are gone, or the destruction of wildlife habitat. Now if the property owner, without tax breaks, wishes to destroy his land, fin. But I don’t want my tax money to finance it.The second article praises a grant from the state to send an army of trucks to block the free flow of traffic in Glenville in order to survey the tree population of Glenville, citing the benefits of the trees. Wow. I’m not sure of the merits of this survey, but at least why not make sure that 85 acres of green-land are left alone?Donald H. DavisCharltonMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation I couldn’t help noticing the inconsistency of our government in action, as typified in two articles on the same page of the May 29 Gazette. In the first article, the Clifton Park planning board is considering a proposal to erect a solar panel array on 85 acres of mostly wooded land. The array itself will be on 21  acres of woodland.last_img read more

The next big thing

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Chesterton crashes £6.5m into the red

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Agency 2005: UK professional firms compared

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Great Portland ready to spend

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‘Tough but necessary’: Indosat cuts 677 jobs to boost efficiency

first_imgThe company’s total revenue rose by 12.4 percent year-on-year (yoy) during the same period to Rp 18.9 trillion, while total costs dropped 4.2 percent to Rp 17.3 trillion.  The company’s stocks, traded at Indonesia Stock Exchange with code ISAT, plunged 2.38 percent on Monday, while the bourse’s main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index, was stable, closing up 0.01 percent.Irsyad said the job cuts, albeit tough, would improve the company’s performance. They would also help Indosat remain competitive amid serious disruption and optimize its services to provide a better customer experience.Throughout the first nine months of 2019, the company recorded Rp 1.29 trillion in employee cost, down 23.35 percent yoy. The employee cost accounted for 7.42 percent of the company’s total expenditure during that period.Securities firm Jasa Utama Capital equity analyst Chris Apriliony said the reorganization could have a positive impact on the company’s finances and help the company achieve a profit.“However, the company would need [more time] before seeing a positive impact [of the layoffs] in its financial performance,” he told the Post by text message.In the meantime, he believed the company could book a profit in the short term, albeit temporary, thanks to last year’s tower sales. In October, Indosat had sold 3,100 telecommunication towers to two local communication tower operators, PT Dayamitra Telekomunikasi (Mitratel) and PT Profesional Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Protelindo), for Rp 6.39 trillion. Indosat then leased back the towers for 20 years from the two buyers.Meanwhile, Indosat workers’ union head of public relations and media Ismu Hasyim told the Post on Monday that most of the laid-off employees were from the network operations division.Read also: Indosat sells 3,100 telecom towers for Rp 6.39 trillion“About 200 people who were laid off came from that division, because the company said it would outsource [the employees’ tasks] to other companies,” he said, adding that he suspected such a strategy was taken following the sales of its telecommunication towers last year.Ismu also said some of the laid-off employees had opted not to take the package for personal reasons. However, others refused the package completely as they rejected the company’s decision on the job cuts.“More than 102 of them have come to us, and we [the workers’ union] are helping them communicate with the management,” he said.Aside from providing a severance package, Irsyad said, the company was also working to provide opportunities for the laid-off employees to continue working for its partner companies.However, it seems not all of the affected employees knew about the offer, and Ismu said all of them had yet to receive a written agreement on the offer.“Some of them did receive a verbal offer, but I told them there’s no formal offer if there’s no written agreement,” he said. He went on to say that the privately-owned company was taking a fair approach in line with the prevailing laws and regulations and offered a better compensation package than required by law.Read also: XL Axiata sales towers to improve efficiency, reduce costsAs of Friday, around 80 percent of the impacted employees had accepted the package, he said.  The publicly listed company booked a loss of Rp 284.6 billion (US$20.8 million) in last year’s first nine months, a stark improvement compared to the Rp 1.5 trillion loss recorded in the same period in 2018. Telecommunication service provider PT Indosat has taken a further step to improve its financial state through the layoff of almost 700 employees in recent days.In a statement obtained by The Jakarta Post over the weekend, Indosat director and human resources chief Irsyad Sahroni said the company was laying off 677 employees as part of changes to its organizational structure to be more agile and focus on customers and market demand.“We have thoroughly reviewed all possible options and have reached the conclusion that we must take this tough but necessary action to be sustainable and grow,” he said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Tales from the crypt: Washington cathedral digs up 5,000 respirator masks

first_imgTopics : “The masks were purchased more than a decade ago following a previous health scare,” the cathedral said in a statement.”They were meant to allow clergy to provide pastoral care without putting their own health at risk.”It said that after checking to be certain they were still safe to use, 13 boxes containing 3,000 masks were being donated to Georgetown University Hospital, and nine more boxes with 2,000 masks were going to Children’s National Hospital, both in Washington.A few masks will be held on to for the cathedral clergy, just in case, it added. With respirator face masks in short supply, the Washington National Cathedral dug deep underground to find its long forgotten stash — in its crypt.The massive Neo-Gothic cathedral in the US capital said Wednesday that 5,000 masks purchased more than a decade ago had been forgotten in its crypt level deep below its nine separate chapels.As US health officials sounded the alarm over the shortage of masks during the coronavirus pandemic, some staff noticed the stockpile set aside for priests.last_img read more

Village authorities in East Nusa Tenggara climb tree to get internet connection

first_imgAuthorities of Wolo Klibang village in West Adonara district, East Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, had to travel 1 kilometer from their village and climb a tree in search of an internet connection to be able to attend a virtual meeting with the East Flores regent on Friday.“What can we do? If we did not climb the tree, we would not be able to get an internet connection and would not be able to attend the meeting,” head of Wolo Klibang village Anselmus Sili said Monday as quoted by kompas.com.The meeting, which discussed the handling and prevention of the COVID-19 outbreak in the region, lasted for two hours. Read also: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/05/09/university-student-in-sulawesi-dies-after-falling-while-searching-for-internet-signal.html” target=”_blank”>University student in Sulawesi dies after falling while searching for internet signalAnselmus said his village did not have access to the internet, which meant residents had to walk or drive around 1 km away to get a signal.East Flores Regent Agus Boli said his administration had sent a letter to the Communications and Information Ministry asking for more base transceiver stations (BTS) to be installed in the regency, as there were still some areas without an internet signal.“Hopefully, we will get a response to our request in the near future,” Agus said, adding that the existing telecommunication network was often disrupted due to a weak signal. (iwa)Topics :last_img read more