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Ben Mangan
Ben Mangan is the President, CEO and Co-Founder of EARN, and a Lecturer at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business

Entries by Ben Mangan

Obama's SOTU? It's His Post-White House Agenda

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2015 | 10:08 AM


It has been fascinating to observe public and pundit reaction to Obama's State of the Union address. The president clearly relished delivering this speech - and the agenda he outlined for domestic policy in particular. His enthusiasm and authentic delight reminded me of...

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Why We Need to Raise the Minimum Wage Now

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 2:15 PM

While news of a cautious economic recovery continue to make headlines, so does the narrative that began with Occupy Wall Street. Low-income workers are still suffering and recent strikes by fast food workers -- an act of last resort as a worker -- show just how painful it is to...

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Let's Restore the American Dream

(1) Comments | Posted June 17, 2013 | 12:56 PM

It's been a privilege to attend Clinton Global Initiative America, this year in Chicago. Given how meaningfully President Clinton has lived the American Dream himself, it should come as no surprise that the state of the American Dream - (some) good and (plenty) bad - has been a...

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Social Enterprise 4.0 Is About Enlightened Self-Interest

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2012 | 3:31 PM

Along with my great colleague Todd Fitch, I help advise a new club on the UC Berkeley campus called Enactus (part of a larger network nationwide) that encourages students to use business and analytical skills to deepen the impact of nonprofits near campus. Over the past year, as this chapter...

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The Three Things the CFPB Must Do

(2) Comments | Posted November 19, 2012 | 10:45 AM

I recently had the opportunity to directly share my thoughts with Richard Cordray, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, on how the CFPB can fulfill its mission. Director Cordray was in the Bay Area to listen, and I was a panelist at a community session where he wanted...

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Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Rightfully Scare Us

(4) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 11:27 AM

More often than not, lionized public figures like Tavis Smiley and Cornel West bring out the cynic in me. But both men were intellectual and spiritual giants as they captured the hearts and minds of the packed house at The Paramount theater in Oakland on Saturday evening. Oakland was their...

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Does Occupy Wall Street Have the "X-Factor"?

(3) Comments | Posted October 20, 2011 | 11:26 AM

I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I had a bona fide epiphany while watching The X Factor (for those of you who live without TV, this is a singing contest like American Idol). I know -- I probably should have been polishing off the most...

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Do Good by Communicating Well

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2011 | 5:45 PM

I imagine that many of you, like me, feel completely inundated with requests from a variety of social causes that range from helping disadvantaged children in faraway places to helping feed the hungry in your own community. It used to be just the snail mail that piled up. This has...

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Finally, Student Voices Enter the Discussion on Education Debt

(2) Comments | Posted June 29, 2011 | 11:23 AM

Traditionally, the story of American prosperity goes something like this: study hard, stay focused you'll be able to get the education you need for your share of the American Dream -- and the long-term prosperity that's supposed to be part of this dream.

But this country stands at a...

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Fintech Leaves Fake-o-nomics Behind

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2011 | 11:27 AM

This week, the future of money came to San Francisco as the conference Finovate Spring 2011 unfolded in SOMA. After two days of hearing many excellent pitches from scores of visionary entrepreneurs in the financial tech (fintech) industry, five things became clear:

1. A seismic shift is underway...

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EARN Savers are Giants

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2010 | 4:07 PM

Unless you're living in seclusion out near those nukes that went offline in Wyoming, you know the Giants' can finally win the World Series as San Franciscans. And after last night, millions of us here in the Bay Area and beyond are growing and dying black beards.


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The For-Profit College Problem Is a Trainwreck

(4) Comments | Posted October 20, 2010 | 12:50 PM

So, how are you feeling these days? Kind of like you are in the midst of a trainwreck? Well, you are. My last poll on a double-dip recession revealed deep cynicism among readers. Nearly 90% of respondents said we would experience a double dip. Granted, this was not a scientific...

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Double Dip Media Frenzy: Voice Your Own Opinion Here

(4) Comments | Posted July 15, 2010 | 10:33 AM

Ask ten "experts" whether we are headed for a double dip recession, and you'll likely get ten different answers. And the press is having a field day with this ambiguity. This is not surprising since stories predicting economic apocalypse are almost as tantalizing as forecasting the next boom.


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Microfinance USA puts Savings on the Table

(2) Comments | Posted May 14, 2010 | 3:27 PM

The nation's premier event on domestic Microfinance - Microfinance USA - opens here in San Francisco on May 20th. I have the privilege to speak on a plenary on savings at the conference, and look forward to what I know will be a fascinating conversation. There appears to...

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Homeowners Tax Credit Expires Today - the Start of a Double Dip?

(1) Comments | Posted April 30, 2010 | 9:52 AM

Will the housing market start to slip again as the homeowners' tax credit expires? The tax credit expires today and reflects a very public move in the government's really significant disinvestment in the market. The government's role in the housing market has undeniably kept it, and much of the economy...

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The Payday Lending Exemption Should Make Us Sick

(5) Comments | Posted March 10, 2010 | 11:17 AM

If you care about the consumer financial protection conversation that's been going on in Washington, you have undoubtedly experienced exulted highs and despondent lows as the issue winds its way through the Congressional sausage maker. If you don't care and have not paid attention to the debate, you should.

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On Jobs, Obama Should Channel Lincoln's Steely Resolve

(2) Comments | Posted February 14, 2010 | 10:21 AM

President Obama assumed office with the promise that he would conduct business differently in Washington. In the afterglow of Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Obama has an opportunity to strengthen his leadership by emulating qualities beyond Lincoln's skills at bringing differing voices together. The president needs to channel Lincoln's steely resolve on...

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Don't Quit on Obama: Earn the Government We Deserve

(3) Comments | Posted January 28, 2010 | 9:14 AM

OK, I'll admit it. I am one of those people the president was talking about. If you have read any of my writings, you know that I am anchored by my optimism. But in the dark, rainy days of January in soggy San Francisco, I have been feeling crestfallen after...

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Wish intentionally on Wednesday

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2009 | 10:12 AM

I am ranting all week about how alarmingly vapid I find so much of what drives us during The Holidays. Since I hate complaining without offering solutions, I'm providing ideas each day this week on how we can revive values that truly make the holidays special. For my full introductory...

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Take Tuesdays to Task and Volunteer!

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2009 | 11:03 AM

Just yesterday, I began my rant about how alarmingly vapid I find so much of what drives us during The Holidays. Since I hate complaining without offering solutions, I'm providing ideas each day this week on how we can revive values that truly make the holidays special. For my full...

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