community Service means Business!

17 August 2006



August 2006, Issue 67

Dear Friends,
A friend of mine from Northern Ireland recently visited, and over a very bad fish dinner at a local watering hole that we should have tagged as suspect for anything more than a basic brew, he caught me up on what was
going on in his neck of the woods. Stevie runs a big NGO that provides many different types of adult education. He told me about his funding, some layoffs, the changes in emphasis in national policy that drove some of thatand then we talked about our families and such.
In amongst what he told me, was that the Enron fiasco has to some extent changed the face of work in Northern Ireland because it nearly destroyed many people's pensions. A key platform of the Conservative government during the 80s and 90s was to encourage private pension provision that relied mainly on stock market growth. When Enron collapsed, so did confidence in stocks and people found their pensions decimated.

Where people had been poised to quit work at a fairly young age (compared to the U.S.), retiring and moving over to allow younger people a shot, many must now work longer than they had expected. This ties up the job market in a region where economic growth has been limited and young people already emigrate in relatively large numbers. Northern Ireland has problems enough to deal with given it is still trying to consolidate a peace process after 30 years of conflict; this is one more strain they could have done without.

14 August 2006

The High Price of Being Poor

The High Price of Being Poor:

Turns out that being poor is expensive. Everything from a loaf of bread to a mortgage costs more in Hub City than in more plush areas of Los Angeles, like Manhattan Beach or Beverly Hills, even though nearly one out of every three people in Compton lives below the poverty line.

Take a drive down Compton Boulevard and you can see some of these higher prices in storefront windows. But you won't see many banks. According to research I did for a Brookings Institution study of poverty, where cities like Manhattan Beach have roughly one bank for every 4,000 residents, Compton only has one for every 25,000. Instead, it has hundreds of alternative financial services—mostly absent from wealthy areas of Los Angeles—that charge jaw-dropping prices. Cashing checks, for instance, costs 3% or more of the check's value. And customers who take out a short-term loan can be hit with an annual percentage rate of 400% or more—a rate estimated to be more than 35 times higher than the average credit card rate in California...

...Other communities facing similar situations have launched initiatives to help solve these problems. For example, New York spurred the opening of 26 new bank branches in lower-income neighborhoods by supplementing consumer deposits in these areas with state treasury deposits. And nearly a dozen states and cities have curbed the development of high-priced alternative financial service companies like check cashers and payday lenders. more

13 August 2006

What Does Education Cost?

What Does Education Cost?:
American adults enrolled in part-time college or university programs reported out-of-pocket tuition and fees with a median of $1,144 compared to $218 for part-time vocational or technical programs. Students of basic skills, GED preparation, and work-related courses or training had median expenses of $0. "
Source: Adult Education Survey of the 2005 National Household Education

Crime victims in 1992 lost $17.6 billion in direct costs,
according to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).
These costs included losses from property theft or damage, cash losses, medical expenses, and amount of pay lost because of injury or activities related to the crime. The crimes included in this figure are rape, robbery, assault, personal and household theft, burglary, and motor vehicle theft.
Crimes include attempts as well as completed offenses.


• The average yearly cost of incarcerating a federal prisoner in 2004 was $23,205

..The average cost of incarcerating a community prisoner in 2004 was $20,102.

...It is three times more expensive to incarcerate a prisoner over the age of 55.


be here-Now!

into the Gaping Void

My Friend Flickr

Talk Gone Wrong

Drop-off Box simple private sharing


Blog Archive