The Washington Independent

Posts by Martha C. White

Social Security Cuts Threaten to Hurt Low-Income Americans More

By | 08.26.10 | 4:45 am

This summer, Social Security – the government program that provides a steady check for seniors – turned 75. In Washington, lawmakers celebrated its platinum anniversary not with champagne, but with a heated argument over whether to reform the costly entitlement program by slashing benefits or raising the retirement age. Indeed, More…

With Income Gap at 80-Year High, Solutions Remain Elusive

By | 07.08.10 | 6:00 am

A new report shows that the income gap between rich and poor in America is at an eight-decade high — the largest differential since the period immediately preceding the Great Depression. And economists fear that the education and job-creation programs that could bridge this gap are lacking in the More…

Outdated Tariff Systems Means the Poor Pay More

By | 06.02.10 | 6:00 am

The Commerce Department tweaked China recently when it slapped a 99 percent tariff on Chinese-made oil field pipes entering the U.S. The move was but the latest volley in a long-running skirmish over a wide variety of imports. To the extent that most people think of tariffs at More…

With VAT Tax on the Table, Progressives Sound Alarm

By | 04.13.10 | 6:00 am

VAT tax

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Charlie Rose last October that a value-added tax was “on the table” as a possible way to solve the nation’s fiscal woes, the remark didn’t generate much interest. But as recent budget figures have put the depth of More…

Refund Anticipation Loans Continue to Harm Low-Income Taxpayers

By | 03.31.10 | 6:00 am

Despite years of efforts to rein in the practice, lightly regulated tax preparers will be permitted to continue peddling high-cost refund anticipation loans once again this tax season to the most vulnerable filers, as tougher rules to curb the practice languish in bureaucratic purgatory.

[Economy1] Refund anticipation loans, or More…

Obama’s Small Business Lending Plan Meets Skepticism

By | 02.15.10 | 6:00 am

With the unemployment rate hovering just shy of 10 percent and Washington focused on job creation, President Obama this month called on Congress to approve a plan that would take $30 billion in repaid TARP funds and make it available for small banks to lend to small businesses.

“We’re More…

What’s Next for the CRA?

By | 01.18.10 | 6:00 am


An ambitious plan to update the Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act that supporters hope to see signed into law in 2010 comes amid charges that this legislation was responsible for nothing less than the subprime crisis and the resulting collapse of the residential real estate market.

The plan, sponsored by More…

A Taxing Challenge

By | 12.14.09 | 4:13 pm

A decade’s worth of cuts in federal aid combined with states moving to copy Bush administration tax cuts have led to states filling revenue shortfalls with regressive tax policies that disproportionately affect the poorest Americans. According to “Who Pays?” a report issued in November by the Institute on Taxation & More…

Long-Term Job Losses Demand Large-Scale Fix

By | 11.23.09 | 6:00 am

not hiring

While the national unemployment rate of 10.2 percent is a sobering reminder of the depth of this recession and the protracted timeline a recovery will take, the challenges posed by long-term unemployment are far greater.

“We are breaking every record post-Great Depression on long-term unemployment,” said Heidi Shierholz, an More…

Are We Facing a Jobless Recovery?

By | 10.13.09 | 6:00 am

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke announced last month that the recession was “likely over” and that the economy was in the early stages of a recovery. The problem is, many Americans don’t look around and see a recovery due to the still-abysmal unemployment rate. What’s scarier is that those numbers More…