Last year while visiting Le Havre, I talked with a young waiter working two jobs to save enough money to go to school to specialize in international law. I asked him how much money he needed, and when he told me 4,000 euros, I almost laughed.
Wall Street is now reflecting upon the fifth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. In fact, most are celebrating the belief that the complete collapse of the American economy was avoided. However, it is much more accurate that the Great Recession was only temporarily mollified.
Much of the racial wealth gap is a result of deliberate policy choices, both by government and the private sector. And because wealth can be handed down from generation to generation, the effects linger long after discriminatory policies change.
All knowledgeable D.C. types know that the TARP and Fed bailout of Wall Street banks five years ago saved us from a second Great Depression. Like most things known by knowledgeable Washington types, this is not true.
A great number of Americans are redefining the American Dream. That was the takeaway from a recent Credit.com poll, which showed that nearly one in four people between the ages of 18 and 24 defined the American Dream as being debt-free. Shockingly, that's more than those who dream of owning a home.
This historical amnesia is a dangerous mistake. It poisons our hearts with pessimism. It blinds us to the lessons and solutions we need. Most New Yorkers have no idea how prevalent poverty used to be -- or how their predecessors made it go away.
Excessive mortgage debt, student loan debt, medical debt and more have placed untenable burdens upon millions. As we learn from our Torah portion, a cursed society is one in which factions are trapped in merciless power dynamics as debtors.
A common explanation is that the bad jobs are coming back first and the good jobs will follow. But let me suggest another explanation: the good jobs are here among us right now -- it's just their wages, their benefits, and the long-term security that have vanished.