Jaffe, Sarah


Destroying Communities, Abusing Workers: What's Still the Matter With Walmart

By Sarah Jaffe
AlterNet

This past week marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first Wal-Mart store. From Rogers, Arkansas, Wal-Mart has sprawled across the globe, opening some 10,000 stores and becoming the world's second-largest corporation—amassing a fortune for the Walton family, and gutting the American middle class.

With all their money and power, it might seem that Wal-Mart's hold on the country is unshakeable. Yet the retail giant is facing a bit of a perfect storm in terms of its reputation right now. Revelations of horrific abuses at one of its U.S. suppliers and of bribes the company paid in Mexico, as well as communities fighting fiercely against Wal-Marts in their neighborhoods, are pushing the big-box giant into damage control mode.

Wall Street-Inflated Student Debt Bubble Hits $1 Trillion; Debtors Rally for Relief

By Sarah Jaffe
AlterNet

You could call it a bubble, but it's more like a ball and chain. Bubbles are, after all, light and airy.

The collective weight of American student debt is now over $1 trillion, and that weight is a drag not just on those paying the debt, but on our entire economy. It's hard to calculate exactly, because the lenders are notoriously unwilling to hand over their data, and with students defaulting at ever-higher rates, interest rates and fees are always changing, adding constantly to the weight of the burden college graduates (and those who didn't graduate but still have to pay off the loans they took out in more hopeful times) carry.

4 Ways the Big Banks are Still Screwing Homeowners — And How They're Fighting Back

By Sarah Jaffe
AlterNet

It's been five years since the bursting of the housing bubble kicked off the financial crisis that shook the world.

And in those years, the banks received trillions in bailouts and ultra-low-interest loans while millions of homeowners around the country have been left to fend for themselves as they faced down foreclosure with little help from the government. Banks have foreclosed on 4 million homes since 2007, and there are millions more to come. Proposed settlements have been weak, and programs designed to help keep people in their family homes have done little other than funnel money back into the pockets of the same bankers who created the crisis.

Offensive Is Nothing New: Rush Limbaugh's 5 Worst Remarks

By Sarah Jaffe
AlterNet

Has Rush Limbaugh finally gone too far?

Despite a notably insincere apology for calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” for the crime of using birth control pills, Limbaugh is shedding advertisers like mad. As of Monday evening, nine companies —including AOL (UPDATE: 39 advertisers now reported to have dropped Limbaugh), the parent company of the Huffington Post -- have stopped buying time on Limbaugh's radio show, and at least a couple say they have severed ties with the program permanently.

Is Congress Going to Double the Interest on Your Student Loan?

By Sarah Jaffe
AlterNet

Unless Congress acts soon, millions of college students could see the interest rate on their federal student loans double this summer—adding $5,000 to the cost of an education for students who pay off their loans in 10 years, and around $11,000 over 20 years.

Yet Republicans are claiming that keeping those rates low costs too much and isn't the federal government's job. Rep. Virginia Foxx, chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee, even argued that it's unnecessary for any student to borrow money to go to college in the first place.

The Right-Wing Zombie Lie About Public Workers That Just Won't Die

By Sarah Jaffe
AlterNet

With the new year, we've seen a new round of attacks on working people. Just last week, Arizona Republicans introduced a bill attacking public workers that makes Wisconsin's look mild by comparison. And just in time to add fuel to the fire, the Congressional Budget Office released a study on government employees' earnings that has the Right buzzing – and even some progressive pundits repeating the myth that government workers are “overpaid.”

$422,320 for a College Degree? With Tuition Skyrocketing, It is Time to Rethink Higher Education

By Sarah Jaffe
AlterNet

$422,320. That's what The Daily, News Corp and Apple's daily news outlet for the iPad, calculated a college education could cost members of the class of 2034—children born this year, for the most part—if they attend one of the nation's priciest schools. But even an average public university will cost $81,000 for four years if tuition hikes continue at current rates—which are increasing much faster than inflation. As tuition continues to go up, and even the president calls for solutions, some are looking at radical possibilities for keeping tuition down—or even eliminating it.

The Daily found that tuition has been increasing even faster at public schools than private—4.5 percent a year for public universities and only 3.5 percent for private. According to Jane Wellman of the Delta Project, which studies the cost of higher education, public schools have been relying on tuition rather than endowments to make up for state education budget cuts. That last statement shouldn't be surprising—with the Age of Austerity upon us, cuts have been coming fast and hard to state university budgets. Last year, the University of California system saw a $500 million reduction in the support it gets from Sacramento, a 16.4 percent drop.

The Next Bubble Is About to Burst: College Grads Face Dwindling Jobs and Mounting Loans

By Sarah Jaffe

It's the beginning of summer: warmer weather, longer days, the end of the school year. And that means graduation for thousands of young people across the U.S.; graduation with more student debt than ever before, and into a job market that is anything but promising.

Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 face an unemployment rate nearly twice that of the rest of the population, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute. 2010's 18.4 percent rate for youth was the worst in the 60 years that economists have collected such data. ColorLines notes that in 2010, 8.4 percent of white college graduates were unemployed, 13.8 percent of Latino graduates, and a dismal 19 percent of black graduates.