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News and Events: Links to what we’re reading

October 14, 2011

Every week we share emails with our team members about news and events. Instead of keeping this to ourselves, we’re sharing them with you, too. Here’s what we’ve been catching:

  • Steve Jobs on Education: A selection of Steve Jobs’ remarks on education, including thoughts on unions, vouchers, and digital learning on Education Next.
  • Questioning Our Mania for Education Technology: An EducationWeek commentary by Jack Schneider, Robert A. Oden Jr. postdoctoral fellow at Carleton College, on how the billions of dollars invested in education technology projects are not working.
  • Limits on Charity Tax Breaks for Jobs Bill No Longer Likely: A highlight in the Chronicle of Philanthropy of the recent halt on legislation to limit the tax break wealthy donors receive for their itemized deductions, including charitable gifts. Diana Aviv, President of Independent Sector, also quoted.
  • How to Stop the Drop in Home Values: An analysis of the ongoing housing crisis and a proposal on how the government can reduce the mortgage debt of American homeowners in a New York Times op-ed by Martin S. Feldstein, professor of economics at Harvard and chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan.
  • Smartphones in Africa: Nuts and bits: This Economist article explains how women in Ghana are thriving in a budding social enterprise, the Star Shea Network, with help from software company SAP and nonprofit PlaNet Finance, in conjunction with microfinance institutions, such as Grameen and Maata-N-Tudu.
Stay tuned for next week’s book report!
5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2011 6:05 pm

    In commenting about limiting itemized deductions on the charitible contributions, it would seem that this is an approach that would hurt charities, education and research when our country is falling behind educationally with the rest of the world. Raising the tax rate on the truly weathly would seem to be a better way to go since our highest marginal tax brackets are at historical lows.

  2. November 6, 2011 7:57 pm

    I’m commenting on Martin Feldstein’s article. I don’t see how we as a country can get out of this declining housing market anytime soon. Yes, most real estate is local but on the whole, the outlook does not look good. Our economy is still in the toilet which means that many more jobs will be lost. Even those with jobs fear for them and will not commit to buying a home for the fear of not paying their mortgage.

    I own a rental and the tenants are more than qualified to buy a home but fear that they will be let go any day and do not want to risk defaulting on a mortgage. It’s almost a catch-22. The fed has lowered rates to entice home buying but those who are smart and who have money to buy a home, will not as they saw what happened only 5 years ago. It’s a very volatile market and that does not breed any confidence.

    Should the government help alleviate mortgages for the average homeowner? Perhaps. It’s up for debate. Personally I feel that if you use close to $1 Trillion of the Tax Payer’s dollars to bail out big banks, why won’t you bail out the residential owners about to default on their mortgage?

  3. February 7, 2012 12:00 am

    In response to the article on the housing market, i can say it looks like we will not be getting out of the housing crisis for a very long time. People do not have money to spend. Our federal reserve is printing more and more money, which is resulting in the devaluation of our currency. This results in inflation and higher prices for commodities. People don’t have money to pay their mortgage or buy new homes. This is a problem we will experience unless we stop the money printing. it’s simple economics.

  4. February 12, 2012 11:57 am

    I have to agree with Mark’s position in, “How to Stop the Drop in Home Values”. With the burst of the housing bubble, there is too much uncertainty, which is further crippling our economic recovery.

    However, I believe that it is clear that you cannot stop falling house prices without first figuring out a way to stop foreclosure. Once this occurs, I believe the housing market will steady.

  5. February 14, 2012 3:48 am

    I am commenting on Martin S. Feldstein’s article of October 11. It is an interesting suggestion that the government and the banks should each absorb half of the negative equity down to a level of 110% of the home value. A potential sticking point is that the government have already bailed out the banks and of course it was the bank’s greed that caused the whole sub prime lending scenario by repeatedly lending more than people could realistically afford and in turn driving house prices to unrealistic high levels.

    So why doesn’t the government make the banks alone absorb this negative equity as they alone caused the problem? The banks continue to make massive profits and pay ridiculous bonuses to their executives, money which could ethically and morally be used to alleviate pressure on many thousands of homeowners who believed the banks in the first place and who are now caught in desperate situations.

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