YOUR DAILY WEEKLY READER: rethinking postal, loving a Fluke and learning to live


via politico
  • via politico

via politico

ELIZABETH WARREN CONTINUES TO USE HER BRAIN TO SOLVE PROBLEMS. REPUBLICANS LIKELY TO “GO POSTAL” IN A DIFFERENT WAY: The Postal Service (USPS) could spare the most economically vulnerable Americans from dealing with predatory financial companies under a proposal endorsed over the weekend by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). ‘USPS could partner with banks to make a critical difference for millions of Americans who don’t have basic banking services because there are almost no banks or bank branches in their neighborhoods,’ Warren wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed on Saturday. The op-ed picked up on a report from the USPS’s Inspector General that proposed using the agency’s extensive physical infrastructure to extend basics like debit cards and small-dollar loans to the same communities that the banking industry has generally ignored. The report found that 68 million Americans don’t have bank accounts and spent $89 billion in 2012 on interest and fees for the kinds of basic financial services that USPS could begin offering. The average un-banked household spent more than $2,400, or about 10 percent of its income, just to access its own money through things like check cashing and payday lending stores. USPS would generate savings for those families and revenue for itself by stepping in to replace those non-bank financial services companies. Those companies are among the most predatory actors in the money business. Payday loans with annual interest rates well north of 100 percent suck billions of dollars out of poor communities every year, with the average customer paying $520 to borrow $375. After decades of operating in a regulatory blind spot and ducking state-level reforms, the payday lending business now faces a crackdown from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The threat of new rules for short-term cash loans in general has caused traditional banks to stop offering deposit-advance loans with similar features. (via Think Progress)



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QUICK, EVERYBODY RACE TO THE MIDDLE AND YAWN LOUDLY!: “Sink and Jolly are deadlocked in a tight race for Florida’s 13th district, a swing district that narrowly went for Obama the past two presidential elections but was held by Young for decades. Republicans believe ObamaCare will be a losing issue for Sink, and Jolly said Monday night that Sink wants to ‘further the agenda of President Obama’ and knocked her for her support of the health care law. Jolly also charged that Sink is a political opportunist, noting she moved to the district to run for the seat. Sink said that she supports fixes to the law, including a repeal of the medical device tax, but emphasized that ‘we cannot go back to where we were,’ a common refrain for Democrats facing Republican attacks on ObamaCare. In attacking Jolly, Sink focused heavily on his lobbying background, charging that Jolly ‘made a decision to go through the Washington revolving door’ and become a lobbyist after leaving Young’s office. Jolly’s faced local headlines about his lobbying work, most recently on his work for a conservative group that has promoted controversial proposals for Social Security reform, among others. But Jolly pushed back against those attacks, declaring, ‘I’m not going to be the voice of special interests

I’m going to do your work.’” (via The Hill)


IT’S NOT A FLUKE, AND IT IS A FLUKE, AND SHE’S NOT A “SLUT”: Sandra Fluke is joining the long list of California Democrats running for Rep. Henry Waxman's soon-to-be vacated Congressional seat. Fluke, the birth control advocate who Rush Limbaugh called a "slut" on his radio show in February 2012, has filed the necessary paperwork to seek an endorsement from the California Democratic Party for a run. The 32-year-old lawyer had said earlier in January that she was "strongly considering" making a bid for Waxman's seat, adding she was "flattered" that she was being discussed as a potential candidate. Fluke gained national attention for her testimony before Congress in 2012, when she advocated for health insurers to pay for contraception as part of the Affordable Care Act. Congress was reviewing the conscience clause, that provided an exemption to religious institutions who object to providing contraception and abortion inducing drugs under their healthcare plans. Fluke testified about her experience at Georgetown Law School, where the Catholic university would not pay for birth control as part of the student health plan. She said that she and other female students suffered "financial, emotional and medical burdens" due to the lack of access to contraception. (via NY Daily News)


BUT WHAT ABOUT THE KEG STANDS AND THE BLADDER BUST NIGHTS? WHAT ABOUT KANT AND EPICTETUS? WHAT ABOUT THE $15K I STILL OWE 20 YEARS LATER? OH: Tuition increases at independent colleges have been sustained, in part, by a belief among affluent families that higher prices signal better quality. If that were true, Alberto Partida, 43, would be in big trouble. His four-year degree from Broward College, a former community college in South Florida, will cost him less than $10,000. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities has questioned the marketplace credibility of degrees offered for $10,000, which have been introduced by Texas and Florida. Luckily for Partida, employers don't measure the value of education that way. Graduates from the Florida College System's workforce-oriented bachelor's degree programs earn about $8,000 more the year after graduation than university graduates, according to research mandated by the state legislature. Tuition for four-year degrees from FCS institutions typically cost $13,000—less than half the cost of four years at a state university. (via The Atlantic)


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