Report: NY Children of Color, Immigrants Being Left Behind; “2017 Race for Results”

Long Island Cars

by Andrea Sears

NEW YORK – Wide disparities in opportunities and achievement for children of color persist in New York and nationwide, according to a new report.

The “2017 Race for Results” report, from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, shows that there continue to be wide achievement gaps between white children and African American, Latino, and immigrant children.

According to Roberto Frugone, with the NALEO Educational Fund, poverty, limited educational opportunities, access to health care and immigration status are stressors that can have a big impact on a child’s ability to succeed.

“When a child is able to have less stress in their life and have less stress in their family, it’s easier for them to be able to focus on the things that will make them thrive,” he explains.

On a 1,000-point index of composite educational, health and economic well-being, African-American and Latino children in New York came in at just over 400 while white and Asian and Pacific Islander children were over 700.

This year’s report also includes data on children of immigrants. And Laura Speer, the associate director of policy reform and advocacy at the Casey Foundation, says nationally, one-in-four of such children live below the federal poverty line.

“Only 47 percent of kids in immigrant families live in households with sufficient income, even though the majority of immigrant parents are in the workforce,” she notes.

There are almost 1.5 million children in immigrant families in New York.

But the current crackdown on undocumented immigrants and the threat of discontinuing protected status for those who arrived as children are having a negative impact. Frugone points out that one key to success is keeping families together.

“Making sure that they’re focused on developing a strong, cohesive unit as opposed to being fearful of having that unit broken up because of deportation or other adverse effects,” he says.

The report recommends that policies prioritize child well-being in immigration proceedings, help children achieve developmental milestones and increase economic opportunity for parents.

Maine Mesothelioma Victims Center Now Urges a Navy Veteran with Mesothelioma in Maine to Call Them for Direct Access to The Nation’s Best Lawyers for Better Compensation Results

Call us a 800-714-0303 for the peace of mind in knowing you are talking directly with some of the nation’s premier mesothelioma compensation lawyers as opposed to a local car accident lawyer”

— Maine Mesothelioma Victims Center

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, USA, October 24, 2017 / — The Maine Mesothelioma Victims Center says, “We are urging a US Navy Veteran or shipyard worker in Maine who has just been diagnosed with mesothelioma or their loved ones to call us anytime at 800-714-0303 for almost instant access to some of the nation’s most skilled, experienced and capable mesothelioma attorneys. These extremely qualified fulltime mesothelioma attorneys consistently get the best possible financial compensation for their clients.

“If you are a Navy Veteran who now has mesothelioma because of exposure to asbestos on a navy ship or at a shipyard you will need the nation’s top lawyers working on your compensation claim as we would like to discuss anytime. Mesothelioma compensation claims for a US Navy Veteran can easily be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or much more.” http://Maine.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

The Maine Mesothelioma Victims Center fears that many Navy Veterans with mesothelioma or their loved ones confuse VA disability payments with a lump sum settlement or settlements for mesothelioma. A VA monthly disability payment for mesothelioma may be around $1100 per month. A financial compensation settlement that is achieved by the Veteran’s mesothelioma attorneys could easily be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or much more. The variable is how much exposure to asbestos did the Navy Veteran have during their time in the navy or after the navy. After the navy could include a job in a factory, a power plant, a public utility or as a skilled trades worker.

If the Maine Mesothelioma Victims Center had one vital piece of advice for a Navy Veteran, a shipyard worker or anyone in Maine with mesothelioma it would be, “Call us anytime at 800-714-0303 for the peace of mind in knowing you are talking directly with some of the nation’s premier mesothelioma compensation lawyers as opposed to a local car accident lawyer. When it comes to obtaining the best possible mesothelioma compensation the skill and the capabilities of the lawyer you hire matters.” http://Maine.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

The Maine Mesothelioma Victims Center would like to emphasize theirs is a statewide initiative available to a diagnosed victim anywhere in Maine including communities such as Bangor, Lewiston, Portland, Brunswick, Saco, Sullivan, Milltown, Bath, or Biddeford.

For the best possible treatment options in Maine the Maine Mesothelioma Victims Center strongly recommends the following heath care facility with the offer to help a diagnosed victim, or their family get to the right physicians at this hospital.

* The Maine Medical Cancer Institute:

High-risk work groups for exposure to asbestos in Maine include Veterans of the US Navy, power plant workers, shipyard workers, oil refinery workers, mill workers, factory workers, plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics, machinists, and construction workers. Typically, the exposure to asbestos occurred in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, or 1980’s.

According to the CDC the average age for a diagnosed victim of mesothelioma is 72 years old. This year between 2500, and 3000 US citizens will be diagnosed with mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that is attributable to exposure to asbestos.

According to the CDC the states indicated with the highest incidence of mesothelioma include Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Louisiana, Washington, and Oregon. http://Maine.MesotheliomaVictimsCenter.Com

For more information about mesothelioma please refer to the National Institutes of Health’s web site related to this rare form of cancer:

Michael Thomas
Maine Mesothelioma Victims Center
email us here

Most Americans think their own group faces discrimination

Majorities in many ethnic, identity and racial groups in America believe that discrimination exists against their own group, across many areas of people’s daily lives, according to a poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The poll asked a wide range of questions about where Americans experience discrimination — from the workplace to the doctor’s office — and people’s perception of it. The groups polled include whites, blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans and LGBTQ adults.

White Americans are among those who feel their group is discriminated against, with 55 percent saying discrimination exists against whites in the U.S. today.

These results are part of a large national statistically representative survey of 3,453 adults from Jan. 26 to Apr. 9.

We will be releasing the full results of the poll over the next several weeks, starting Tuesday with results from the survey of African-Americans. We will highlight and analyze the particular acts of discrimination that each group experiences.

The African-American results, in 802 adults, provide insight into the historically high levels of discrimination blacks have faced since arriving in America. These experiences happen across a broad range of situations: interacting with police; applying for jobs or seeking promotions; trying to rent an apartment or buy a home; or going to a doctor or health clinic.

Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of African Americans.” Survey of 802 African-American U.S. adults conducted Jan. 26-April 9, 2017. The margin of error for the full African-American sample is +/- 4.1 percentage points.
Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of African Americans.” Survey of 802 African-American U.S. adults conducted Jan. 26-April 9, 2017. The margin of error for the full African-American sample is +/- 4.1 percentage points. Alyson Hurt/NPR

The findings on African-Americans have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

The perceptions of discrimination are not primarily based in actions by institutions, as some might expect. “Most African-Americans believe that discrimination is due to the attitudes of individuals that they interact with,” says Robert Blendon, the poll’s director and professor of policy and political analysis at the Harvard Chan School. “A smaller share believes it’s actually government or institutional policies.”

Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of African Americans.” Survey of 802 African-American U.S. adults conducted Jan. 26-April 9, 2017. The margin of error for the full African-American sample is +/- 4.1 percentage points.
Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of African Americans.” Survey of 802 African-American U.S. adults conducted Jan. 26-April 9, 2017. The margin of error for the full African-American sample is +/- 4.1 percentage points. Alyson Hurt/NPR

Fear of discrimination, possibly triggered by past encounters, plays out in different ways. We found that this fear significantly influences people’s decisions whether to seek medical care, to call the police when in need, and even whether to drive or attend social events. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of African-Americans polled said they have personally experienced racial discrimination when going to the doctor or a health clinic, with 22 percent avoiding care out of fear of discrimination.

“If someone is avoiding seeking medical care out of fear of discrimination, they’re at risk of going undiagnosed for serious conditions,” says Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “We know that repeated stress from discrimination and racism can actually make some of those conditions more likely in the first place and shorten lives.”

Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of African Americans.” Survey of 802 African-American U.S. adults conducted Jan. 26-April 9, 2017. The margin of error for the full African-American sample is +/- 4.1 percentage points.
Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of African Americans.” Survey of 802 African-American U.S. adults conducted Jan. 26-April 9, 2017. The margin of error for the full African-American sample is +/- 4.1 percentage points. Alyson Hurt/NPR

And repeated stress comes from many kinds of discrimination and the fear it engenders. Numerous studies have shown that African-Americans are more likely to be stopped by police compared with other racial groups. In the poll, 60 percent of people told us that they or a family member have been unfairly stopped or mistreated by police because they are black.

That has consequences for them personally and across society — 31 percent of poll respondents say fear of discrimination has led them to avoid calling the police when in need. And 61 percent say police are more likely to use force on a person who is African-American than on a white person in the same situation.

Where people live can make a big difference, too. Our survey found that 64 percent of blacks live in non-majority-black areas. For these people, perceptions of local discrimination, opportunity, police and government and community environment were generally better when compared with majority-black areas, sometimes by wide margins.

Our poll found substantial numbers of African-Americans who say they have been slurred or have been the target of insensitive or offensive comments or negative assumptions. A story later in our series will explore the split by income and gender in the chart below.

Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of African Americans.” Survey of 802 African-American U.S. adults conducted Jan. 26-April 9, 2017. The margin of error for the full African-American sample is +/- 4.1 percentage points.
Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: “Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of African Americans.” Survey of 802 African-American U.S. adults conducted Jan. 26-April 9, 2017. The margin of error for the full African-American sample is +/- 4.1 percentage points. Matthew Zhang/NPR

Persistently higher premature death rates in blacks compared with whites was one of the issues that inspired this poll and series. The most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that gap at 16 percent, even though it has narrowed since 1999, when death rates for blacks from all causes were 33 percent higher than whites.

Many factors play into the gap, including a considerable drop in crime rates involving African-Americans over that period and improved access to medical care for many people. What we’re trying to explore with our “You, Me and Them” series and poll is how the stress-inducing experiences of discrimination in everyday life affect health.

“Over 200 black people die prematurely every single day in America, in part because of racism in society,” says David Williams, a professor of public health at the Harvard Chan School who has pioneered work in the field of racial disparities in health care. “This poll helps us see where we need to take action to address the problem.”

The poll was conducted in the first quarter of 2017. A final report discussing major highlights from the series will be released in December.

NAACP celebrates 100 years, still work to do

William Robinson, a prominent civil rights movement litigator and founding dean of the District of Columbia School of Law, speaks Saturday during the Oberlin NAACP’s 100th anniversary banquet.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Oberlin News Tribune

Jeanine Donaldson of the Fair Minded Coalition of Lorain County performs a rendition of “Steal Away” with guitar accompaniment from Oberlin Conservatory professor Bobby Ferrazza.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Oberlin News Tribune

Oberlin NAACP secretary David Ashenhurst hands charter director Claudia Jones a congratulatory proclamation from Sen. Sherrod Brown.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Oberlin News Tribune

The Rev. Stanley Miller of Oberlin’s Rust United Methodist Church introduces speakers.

Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Oberlin News Tribune

Don’t make the mistake of believing we live in a post-racial society, said William Robinson, guest speaker Saturday at the Oberlin NAACP’s 100th anniversary celebration.

“Republicans are in control of both houses of Congress and most state governments,” he said. “Our association is needed right now at the local, state, and national level as much as ever.”

A prominent litigator during the civil rights movement and founding dean of the District of Columbia School of Law, Robinson spoke before a packed banquet hall inside the Hotel at Oberlin.

His talk focused on the process of building the NAACP, victories and setbacks in the fight against racial injustice, and American historical events often glossed over in teachings such as Jim Crow-era race riots that saw entire African-American neighborhoods burned to the ground and their residents murdered.

Whether it was during post-Civil War reconstruction or a “second reconstruction” in the 1870s, Robinson said an aggressive backlash took place just as it seemed African-Americans were on the verge of securing significant steps toward equal rights.

“A black middle class was rapidly developing in the 1890s and it seemed justice, freedom, and equality were just around the corner,” he said. “But that was not the case. Former slave owners responded with a wave of economic coercion and armed violence. A black man’s life was at risk for daring to look a white man in the eye. This was the system of Jim Crow.”

In the 1960s and 1970s, President Richard Nixon employed a “Southern Strategy” to woo the southern states away from the Democrats and into the Republican Party, he said. “President Reagan adopted similar tactics. Under both Nixon and Reagan, the U.S. Justice Department stopped joining forces with NAACP lawyers and their allies.”

The 100th anniversary celebration was also a time to honor those who have contributed to the NAACP in Oberlin.

Claudia Jones was named president of the chapter this spring. She grew up on North Prospect Street and served as associate director of development at Oberlin College for 37 years.

“I feel honored to be a part of this organization at this particular time,” she said. “Now it’s time to keep it going for another 100 years. I live in Lorain now, but my husband and I come back to church in Oberlin every Sunday. My friends say I sleep in Lorain but I live in Oberlin. This is such a wonderful community to be a part of.”

The Rev. Stanley Miller of Oberlin’s Rust United Methodist Church introduced speakers and greeted guests. He served as executive director of the Cleveland NAACP from 2005 to 2011.

“I’ve always had an opportunity to see the hard work put into this organization and the people who truly want change,” he said. “It’s also been great to see an influx of young people and diversity in the NAACP. Look at the faces in this crowd. This is significant and it should always be like this.”

Proclamations from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Lorain County commissioners were delivered by Oberlin NAACP secretary David Ashenhurst and commissioner Matt Lundy.

Lundy touched on the efforts of hate groups to push themselves into mainstream conversation.

“Unfortunately, we’re living in a time where there’s forces trying to divide us,” he said. “We’re living in a time where it’s more common to be nasty and mean than it is to be civil. The NAACP has always wanted people to be treated with dignity and respect and I can’t say enough about the good that the Oberlin NAACP has done over the years.”

Jones pointed to common desires among people of all races that should form stronger bonds.

“A lot of people have hateful feelings because they’ve never gotten to know anyone of a different race,” she said. “If we take the time to get to know each other, we can find out we’re all the same. We care about the same things: good education, jobs, and health care. It’s a beautiful thing when people come together.”

Robinson implored NAACP members to stay the course, fight back against hate groups, oppose voting suppression laws, and notice the growing racial segregation that comes along with vast income inequality among public school districts.

He also said more diversity should be demanded in the hiring and appointment of federal prosecutors, who are 95 percent white, and the spotlight must continue to be pointed toward the killing of unarmed African-Americans by police.

“Beyond the courts, the NAACP must continue to use its network of local chapters to lobby against voter suppression at all levels of government,” he said. “If you come to Washington, I’ll be happy to join you.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

William Robinson, a prominent civil rights movement litigator and founding dean of the District of Columbia School of Law, speaks Saturday during the Oberlin NAACP’s 100th anniversary banquet.

Jeanine Donaldson of the Fair Minded Coalition of Lorain County performs a rendition of “Steal Away” with guitar accompaniment from Oberlin Conservatory professor Bobby Ferrazza.

Oberlin NAACP secretary David Ashenhurst hands charter director Claudia Jones a congratulatory proclamation from Sen. Sherrod Brown.

The Rev. Stanley Miller of Oberlin’s Rust United Methodist Church introduces speakers.

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Birmingham Residents Fight Kidney Disease at American Kidney Fund’s Kidney Action Day

American Kidney Fund free health screening

Free health screenings from the American Kidney Fund help Birmingham residents fight kidney disease

Birmingham residents learned kidney disease and what they can do to help prevent it at the American Kidney Fund’s (AKF) Kidney Action Day® Sunday.

We want to help people avoid kidney disease, and if they have it, we want to find it early so that we can treat it before it progresses to kidney failure.”

— Dr. Orlando Gutiérrez

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA, UNITED STATES, October 24, 2017 / — Hundreds of Birmingham-area residents learned about their risks for kidney disease and what they can do to help prevent it at the American Kidney Fund’s (AKF) Kidney Action Day® Sunday at Railroad Park. More than 125 attendees received free health screenings at the event, checking for diabetes and high blood pressure, the two leading causes of kidney disease, as well as testing their kidney function.

Birmingham City Councilor Kim Rafferty presented a proclamation from the Mayor’s office and urged those in attendance to get health screenings. State Representative Jack Williams and Birmingham City Councilor Sheila Tyson encouraged residents to take advantage of Kidney Action Day to learn how they could help protect themselves from kidney disease, the ninth-leading cause of death in the United States.

More than 12,000 Alabama residents are living with kidney failure–including 3,300 in metro Birmingham–and nearly 9,000 of them depend on dialysis for survival.

“Kidney disease is a serious health issue in Birmingham, but we are working to help turn that around through education and awareness events like Kidney Action Day,” said Dr. Orlando Gutiérrez, a nephrologist who is an associate professor of medicine at UAB’s School of Medicine and Epidemiology and a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Kidney Fund. “If your kidneys fail, you need dialysis or a transplant to live. We want to help people avoid kidney disease, and if they have it, we want to find it early so that we can treat it before it progresses to kidney failure.”

WBRC Fox 6 sports anchor Jeh Jeh Pruitt spoke to the crowd about his own experience with donating a kidney to his mother when her kidneys failed in 1995. Jamme’s Crunk Fitness took the stage to show that a high-energy workout can be a lot of fun, and entertainment was provided by UAB’s Music for the Soul and the band Just a Few Cats.

Kidney disease is an increasingly common but often-preventable condition. More than 30 million Americans have kidney disease and millions more are at risk. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD. Other risk factors include having a family history of kidney disease, being over 60, and being African-American, Asian American, Native American or of Hispanic ethnicity. Left undiagnosed and untreated, CKD can lead to heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure and death.

CKD is known as a silent killer because it typically has no symptoms until the late stages. If an individual has developed early CKD, detection through screenings is a key factor in slowing or stopping its progression.

In 2016, the American Kidney Fund provided grants to more than 2,000 low-income Alabama kidney failure patients, including more than 500 patients in metro Birmingham. Grants from AKF help low-income individuals access the health care they need to stay alive, including dialysis and transplantation

BIrmingham Kidney Action Day was made possible through the generous support of Presenting National Screening Sponsors American Renal Associates and U.S. Renal Care, Inc.; Regional Sponsors Akebia Therapeutics, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals ARD, and Satellite Healthcare; and Transplant Education Sponsor Novartis. For more information on the American Kidney Fund, visit

About the American Kidney Fund
As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 30 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

For more information, please visit, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

# # #

Alice Andors
American Kidney Fund
email us here

Imagining Our Way Beyond Neoliberalism: A Dialogue With Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin

Noam Chomsky speaks at a Ministry of Culture event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 12, 2015. (Photo: Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina)Noam Chomsky speaks at a Ministry of Culture event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 12, 2015. (Photo: Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina)

This is part two of a wide-ranging interview with world-renowned public intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin. Read part one here. The next installment will appear on October 31.

C.J. Polychroniou: Noam, racism, inequality, mass incarceration and gun violence are pathologies that run deep inside American society. How would a progressive government begin to address these problems if it found itself in a position of power in, say, the next decade or so?

Noam Chomsky: Very serious problems, no doubt. In order to address them effectively, it’s first necessary to understand them; not a simple matter. Let’s take the four pathologies in turn.

Racism certainly runs deep. There is no need to elaborate. It’s right before our eyes in innumerable ways, some with considerable historical resonance. Current anti-immigrant hysteria can hardly fail to recall the racist immigration laws that at first barred [Asians] and were extended in the 1920s to Italians and Jews (under a different guise) — incidentally, helping to send many Jews to gas chambers, and after the war, keeping miserable survivors of the Holocaust from US shores.

Of course, the most extreme case for the past 400 years is the bitter history of African Americans. Current circumstances are shameful enough, commonly held doctrines scarcely less so. The hatred of Obama and anything he touched surely reflects deep-rooted racism. Comparative studies by George Frederickson show that doctrines of white supremacy in the US have been even more rampant than in Apartheid South Africa.

The Nazis, when seeking precedents for the Nuremberg laws, turned to the United States, taking its anti-miscegenation laws as a model, though not entirely: [Certain] US laws were too harsh for the Nazis because of the “one drop of blood” doctrine. It was not until 1967, under the impact of the civil rights movement, that these abominations were struck down by the Supreme Court.

And it goes far back, taking many strange forms, including the weird Anglo-Saxon cult that has been prominent for centuries. Benjamin Franklin, the great American figure of the Enlightenment, pondered whether Germans and Swedes should be barred from the country because they are “too swarthy.” Adopting familiar understanding, he observed that “the Saxons only [are] excepted” from this racial “defect” — and by some mysterious process, those who make it to the United States may become Anglo-Saxons, like those already accepted within the canon.

The national poet Walt Whitman, honored for his democratic spirit, justified the conquest of half of Mexico by asking, “What has miserable, inefficient Mexico … to do with the great mission of peopling the New World with a noble race? Be it ours, to achieve that mission!” — a mission accomplished by the most “wicked war” in history, in the judgment of General-President U.S. Grant, who later regretted his service in it as a junior officer.

Coming to recent years, Henry Stimson, one of the most distinguished members of the FDR-Truman cabinets (and one of the few to oppose atomic bombing) “consistently maintained that Anglo-Saxons were superior to the ‘lesser breeds’,” historian Sean Langdon Malloy observes in his book, Atomic Tragedy: Henry L. Stimson and the Decision to Use the Bomb — and again reflecting not-uncommon views, asked to have one of his aides reassigned “on the slight possibility that he might be a Hebrew,” in his own words.

The other three maladies that you mention are also striking features of US society — in some ways, even distinguishing features. But unlike racism, in all three cases, it is partially a contemporary phenomenon.

Take inequality. Through much of its history, the US did not have high inequality as compared with Europe. Less so, in fact. That began to change in the industrial age, reaching a peak in 1928, after the forceful destruction of the labor movement and crushing of independent thought. Largely as a result of labor mobilization, inequality declined during the Great Depression, a tendency continuing through the great growth period of regulated capitalism in the early postwar decades. The neoliberal era that followed reversed these trends, leading to extreme inequality that may even surpass the 1928 peak.

Mass incarceration is also period-specific; in fact, the same period. It had reached high levels in the South in the post-reconstruction years after an 1877 North-South compact gave the South free rein to institute “slavery by another name,” as Douglas Blackmon calls the crime in his study of how the former slave-owning states devised techniques to incarcerate much of the Black population. By doing so, they created a renewed slave labor force for the industrial revolution of those years, this time with the state, rather than private capital, responsible for maintaining the slave labor force — a considerable benefit to the ownership class. Turning to more recent times, 30 years ago, US incarceration rates were within the range of developed societies, a little towards the high end. By now they are 5 to 10 times as high, far beyond those of any country with credible statistics. Again, a phenomenon of the past three decades.

The gun cult is also not as deeply rooted as often supposed. Guns were, of course, needed to conduct the two greatest crimes of American history: controlling slaves and exterminating [Native Americans]. But the general public had little interest in weapons, a matter of much concern to the arms industry. The popular gun cult was cultivated by gun manufacturers in the 19th century in order to create a market beyond governments. Normal capitalism. Methods included concoction of “Wild West” mythology that later became iconic. Such efforts continue, vigorously, until the present. By now, in large sectors of the society, swaggering into a coffee shop with a gun shows that you are really somebody, maybe a Wyatt Earp clone. The outcomes are sobering. Gun homicides in the US are far beyond comparable countries. In Germany, for example, deaths from gun homicide are at the level of deaths in the US from “contact with a thrown or falling object.” And even these shocking figures are misleading. Half of suicides in the US are with firearms, more than 20,000 a year, amounting to two-thirds of all firearm deaths. 

Turning to your question about the four “pathologies” — the four horsemen, one is tempted to say — the questions virtually answer themselves with a careful look at the history, particularly the history since World War II. There have been two phases during the postwar period: regulated capitalism through the ’50s and ’60s, followed by the neoliberal period from the late ’70s, sharply accelerating with Reagan and his successors. It is the latter period when the last three of four pathologies drove the US off the charts.

During the first postwar phase, there were some significant steps to counter endemic racism and its devastating impact on the victims. That was the great achievement of the mass civil rights movement, peaking in the mid-1960s, though with a very mixed record since. The achievements also had a major impact on the political system. The Democratic Party had been an uneasy coalition, including Southern Democrats, dedicated to racist policies and extremely influential because of seniority in one-party states. That’s why New Deal measures [were] largely restricted to whites; for example, household and agricultural workers were barred from Social Security.

The alliance fell apart in the ’60s with the fierce backlash against extending minimal rights of citizenship to African-Americans. The South shifted to Republican ranks, encouraged by Nixon’s overtly racist “Southern strategy.” The period since has hardly been encouraging for African Americans, apart from elite sectors.

Government policies could go some way towards ameliorating these social pathologies, but a great deal more is needed. Such needs can only be fulfilled by dedicated mass popular activism and educational/organizational efforts. These can be facilitated by a more progressive government, but, just as in the case of the civil rights movement, that can be only a help, often a reluctant one.

On inequality, it was low (by comparative standards) during the period of regulated capitalism — the final era of “great compression” of income as it is sometimes called. Inequality began to increase rapidly with the advent of the neoliberal era, not only in the US, though the US is extreme among developed societies. During the tepid recovery from the Great Recession of 2008, virtually all gains went to the top few percent, mostly 1 percent or a fraction thereof. “For the United States overall, the top 1 percent captured 85.1 percent of total income growth between 2009 and 2013,” an Economic Policy Institute Study revealed. “In 2013 the top 1 percent of families nationally made 25.3 times as much as the bottom 99 percent.” And so, it continues. The latest Federal Reserve studies show that “The share of income received by the top 1 percent of families rose to 23.8 percent in 2016, up from 20.3 percent in 2013. The share of the bottom 90 percent of the distribution fell to 49.7 percent, the lowest on record in the survey’s history.” Other figures are grotesque. Thus, “Average wealth holdings for white families in 2016 were about $933,700, compared with $191,200 for Hispanic families and $138,200 for black families,” a product of deep-rooted racism exacerbating the neoliberal assault.

The gun culture, too, has expanded rapidly in recent decades. In 1975, the NRA formed a new lobbying arm — a few years later, a PAC — to channel funds to legislators. It soon became one of the most powerful interest-group lobbies, with often fervent popular participation. In 2008, the Supreme Court, in an intellectual triumph of “originalism,” reversed the traditional interpretation of the Second Amendment, which had previously respected its explicit condition on the right to bear arms: the need for “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State….” That provision was understandable in 1790. There was almost no standing army. The world’s most powerful state was still an enemy. The slave population had to be controlled. And the invasion of the rest of what became the national territory was about to be unleashed. Not exactly today’s circumstances.

Since 2008, our “constitutional right to bear arms,” as declared by the right-wing Roberts Court, has become Holy Writ.

There are many contributing factors to the sharp break between the two postwar periods — neither [of] which began to approach what is surely possible in the richest society in world history, with incomparable advantages.

One leading factor is the financialization of the economy, creating a huge bloc of largely predatory institutions devoted to financial manipulations rather than to the real economy — a process by which “Wall Street destroyed Main Street,” in the words of Financial Times editor Rana Foroohar. One of her many illustrations is the world’s leading corporation, Apple. It has astronomical wealth, but to become even richer, has been shifting from devising more advanced marketable goods to finance. Its R&D as a percentage of sales has been falling since 2001, tendencies that extend widely among major corporations. In parallel, capital from financial institutions that financed business investments during the postwar growth period now largely “stays inside the financial system,” Foroohar reports, “enriching financiers, corporate titans, and the wealthiest fraction of the population, which hold the vast majority of financial assets.”

During the period of rapid growth of financial institutions since the ’70s, there seem to have been few studies of their impact on the economy. Apparently, it was simply taken for granted that since it (sort of) accords with neoliberal market principles, it must be a Good Thing.

The failure of the profession to study these matters was noted by Nobel laureate in economics Robert Solow after the 2008 crash. His tentative judgment was that the general impact is probably negative: “the successes probably add little or nothing to the efficiency of the real economy, while the disasters transfer wealth from taxpayers to financiers.” By now, there is substantially more evidence. A 2015 paper by two prominent economists found that productivity declines in markets with rapidly expanding financial sectors, impacting mostly the sector most critical for long-term growth and better jobs: advanced manufacturing. One reason, Foroohar observes, is that “finance would rather invest in areas like real estate and construction, which are far less productive but offer quicker, more reliable short-term gains” (hence also bigger bonuses for top management); the Trump-style economy, palatial hotels and golf courses (along with massive debt and repeated bankruptcies).

In part for related reasons, though productivity has doubled since the late ’70s when finance was beginning to take over the economy, wages have stalled — for male workers, declined. In 2007, before the crash, at the height of euphoria about the grand triumphs of neoliberalism, neoclassical economics and “the Great Moderation,” real wages of American workers were lower than they had been in 1979, when the neoliberal experiment was just taking off. Another factor contributing to this outcome was explained to Congress in 1997 by Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, when testifying on the healthy economy he was managing. In his own words, “Atypical restraint on compensation increases has been evident for a few years now and appears to be mainly the consequence of greater worker insecurity.” Insecurity that was, as he noted, markedly increasing even as employment prospects improved. In short, with labor repressed and unions dismantled, workers were too intimidated to seek decent wages and benefits, a sure sign of the health of the economy.

The same happened to the minimum wage, which sets a floor for others; if it had continued to track productivity, it would now be close to $20 an hour. Crises have rapidly increased as deregulation took off, in accord with the “religion” that markets know best, deplored by another Nobel laureate, Joseph Stiglitz, in a World Bank publication 20 years ago, to no effect. Each crisis is worse than the last; each following recovery weaker than the last. None of this, incidentally, would have come as a surprise to Marxist economists, who pretty much disappeared from the scene in the United States.

Despite much lofty rhetoric about “free markets,” like other major industries (energy, agribusiness, etc.), financial institutions benefit enormously from government subsidy and other interventions. An IMF study found that the profits of the major banks derive substantially from the implicit government insurance policy (“too big to fail”), which confers advantages far beyond the periodic bailouts when corrupt practices lead to a crash — something that did not happen during the earlier period, before bipartisan neoliberal doctrine fostered deregulation. Other benefits are real but immeasurable, like the incentive to undertake risky (hence profitable) transactions, with the understanding that if they crash, the hardy taxpayer will step in to repair the damage, probably leaving the institutions richer than before, as after the 2008 crash for which they were largely responsible.

Other factors include the accelerated attack on unions and the radical reduction in taxes for the wealthy, both natural concomitants of neoliberal ideology. Another is the particular form of neoliberal globalization, particularly since the ’90s, designed in ways that offer very high protection and other advantages to corporations, investors and privileged professionals, while setting working people in competition with one another worldwide, with obvious consequences.

Such measures have a mutually reinforcing effect. As wealth becomes more concentrated, so, automatically, does political power, which leads to government policies that carry the cycle forward.

A primary goal of the neoliberal reaction was to reverse the falling rate of profit that resulted, in part, from growing labor militancy. That goal has been achieved with impressive success. The professed goals, of course, were quite different. And as always, the reaction was buttressed by ideology. One staple has been the famous thesis of Simon Kuznets: that while inequality increases in early economic development, it begins to decrease as the economy reaches a more advanced level. It follows, then, that there is no need for redistributive policies that interfere with the magic of the market. The Kuznets thesis soon became conventional wisdom among economists and planners.

There are a few problems, however. One, as [American University economics professor] Jon Wisman observes, is that it wasn’t a thesis, but rather a conjecture, very cautiously advanced. As Kuznets explained, the conjecture was based on “perhaps 5 percent empirical information and 95 percent speculation, some of it possibly tainted by wishful thinking.” This slight qualification in the article was overlooked in a manner not uncommon when there is doctrinal utility in so doing. Other justifications fare similarly.

One might almost define “neoliberalism” — a bit cruelly, but not entirely unfairly — as an ideology devoted to establishing more firmly a society based on the principle of “private affluence, public squalor” — John Kenneth Galbraith’s condemnation of what he observed in 1958. Much worse was to come with the unleashing of natural tendencies of capitalism in the neoliberal years, now enhanced as its more [brutal] variants are given virtually free rein under Trump-Ryan-McConnell Republicanism.

All of this is under human control, and can be reversed. There are many realistic options, even without looking beyond short-term feasibility. A small financial transaction tax would sharply reduce the rapid trading that is a net loss to the society while benefiting a privileged few, and would also provide a progressive government with revenue for constructive purposes. It’s common knowledge that the deterioration of infrastructure has reached grotesque proportions. Government programs can begin to address these serious problems. They can also be devoted to improving rather than undermining the deteriorating public education system. Living wage and green economy programs of the kind that Bob Pollin has developed could go a long way toward reducing inequality, and beyond that, creating a much more decent society. Another major contribution would be [an equitable] health care system. In fact, just eliminating the exorbitant patent protections that are a core part of the neoliberal “free trade agreements” would be a huge boon to the general economy — and the arguments for these highly protectionist measures are very weak, as economist Dean Baker has shown convincingly. Legislation to put an end to the “right to scrounge laws” (in Orwellian terminology, “right to work laws”) that are designed to destroy unions could help revive the labor movement, by now with different constituencies, including service and part-time workers. That could reverse the growth of the new “precariat,” another matter of fundamental importance. And it could restore the labor movement to its historic role as the leading force in the struggle for basic human rights.

There are other paths toward reviving a vital and progressive labor movement. The expansion of worker-owned and managed enterprises, now underway in many places, is a promising development, and need not be limited to a small scale. A few years ago, after the crash, Obama virtually nationalized a large part of the auto industry, then returning it to private ownership. Another possibility would have been to turn the industry over to the workforce, or to stakeholders more broadly (workers and community), who might, furthermore, have chosen to redirect its production to what the country sorely needs: efficient public transportation. That could have happened had there been mass popular support and a receptive government. Recent work by Gar Alperovitz and David Ellerman approaches these matters in highly informative ways. Conversion of military industry along similar lines is also quite conceivable — matters discussed years ago by Seymour Melman. [There are all] options under progressive initiatives.

The “right to work” legislation that is a darling of the far right will probably soon be established solidly by the Roberts Court now that Neil Gorsuch is in place, thanks to some of Mitch McConnell’s more sordid chicanery in barring Obama’s nominee. The legislation has an interesting pedigree. It traces back to the Southern Christian American Association, an extreme racist and anti-Semitic organization that was bitterly opposed to unions, which its leaders condemned as a devilish contrivance in which “white women and white men will be forced into organizations with black African apes.” Another enemy was “Jewish Marxism,” the “Talmudists” who were planning to Sovietize the world and were already doing so in the US through the “Jew Deal,” known elsewhere as the “New Deal.”

An immediate objective of moderately progressive policy should be to sharply cut the huge military budget, well over half of discretionary spending and now expanding under the Republican project of dismantling government, apart from service to their wealthy/corporate constituency. One of many good reasons to trim the military budget is that it is extremely dangerous to our own security. A striking illustration is the Obama-Trump nuclear weapons modernization program, which has sharply increased “killing power,” a very important study in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reported last March. Thereby, the program “creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike.” These developments, surely known to Russian planners, significantly increase the likelihood that they might resort to a preemptive strike — which means the end — in case of false alarms or very tense moments, of which there are all too many. And here, too, the funds released could be devoted to badly needed objectives, like quickly weaning ourselves from the curse of fossil fuels.

This is a bare sample. There’s a long list.

The United States spends more money on health care than any other nation in the world, yet its health care system is highly inefficient and leaves out millions from even basic coverage. What would a socialized health care system look like in the US, and how can the opposition from the private insurance sector, big pharma and the medical industries in general be overcome?

Chomsky: The facts are startling. It’s an international scandal, and not unknown. A recent study by the US-based Commonwealth Fund, a nonpartisan health policy research group, found that once again, as repeatedly in the past, the US health care system is the most expensive in the world, far higher than comparable countries, and that it ranks last in performance among these countries. To have combined these two results is a real triumph of the market. The roots of the achievement are not obscure. The US is alone in relying on largely unregulated private insurance companies. Their commitment is to profit, not health, and they produce huge waste in administrative costs, advertising, profit and executive compensation. The government-run component of the health system (Medicare) is far more efficient, but suffers from the need to work through the private institutions. The US is also alone in legislation barring the government from negotiating drug prices, which, not surprisingly, are far above comparable countries.

These policies do not reflect popular will. Poll results vary, depending on how questions are formulated, but over time, they show considerable, often majority support for a public health system of the kind found elsewhere. Usually, Canada is the model because so little is known about the rest of the world, though it is not ranked as the best. That prize has regularly been won by the British National Health Service, though it, too, is reeling under the neoliberal assault. When Obama’s [Affordable Care Act] was introduced, it included a public option, supported by almost two-thirds of the population. It was unceremoniously deleted. Popular opinion is particularly striking in that [it] receives so little mainstream support, even articulation; and if even brought up, is usually condemned. The main argument against the far more successful systems elsewhere is that adopting their framework would raise taxes. [However, single-payer usually results in] cutting expenses considerably more and benefitting the large majority — so the experience of other countries indicates, [as does] US Medicare.

The tide may be turning finally. Sanders has received considerable support, even within the political system, for his call for universal health care to be achieved step-by-step in his plan, by gradual extension of Medicare and other means. The temporary collapse of the fanatic seven-year Republican campaign to destroy “Obamacare” may provide openings as well — temporary collapse, because the extremist organization in power has means to undermine health care and are likely to use it in their passionate dedication to destroying anything connected to the reviled Black president…. Nevertheless, there are new openings for some degree of [reason], which could greatly enhance people’s welfare, as well as improving the general economy.

To be sure, there will be massive opposition from private power, which has extraordinary influence in our limited class-based democracy. But it can be overcome. The historical record shows that economic-political elites respond to militant popular action — and the threat of more — by endorsing ameliorative measures that leave their basic dominance of the society in place. New Deal measures of social reform are one of many illustrations.

Bob, you produced recently an economic analysis for the backing of a single-payer bill in California (SB-562) and worked on Bernie Sanders’s proposal for universal health care, so what are your own views on the previous question?

Robert Pollin: A socialized health care system for the US — whether we call it “single-payer,” “Medicare-for-All” or something else — should include two basic features. The first is that every resident … should be guaranteed access to decent health care. The second is that the system achieves significant overall savings relative to our existing system through lowering administrative costs, controlling the prices of prescription drugs and fees for physicians and hospitals, reducing unnecessary treatments and expanding preventive care.

In our study analyzing the California single-payer proposal, we estimated that providing decent coverage for all state residents — including, in particular, the roughly 40-45 percent of the state’s population who are presently either uninsured or who have inadequate coverage — would increase total costs by about 10 percent under the existing system. But we also estimated that operating the single-payer system could achieve overall savings in the range of 18 percent relative to the existing system in the areas of administration, drug prices, fees for providers and cutting back on wasteful service delivery. Overall then, we found that total health care spending in California would fall by about 8 percent, even with the single-payer system delivering decent care for everyone. My work on the Sanders’s Medicare for All bill is ongoing as of now, so I will hold off on providing estimates of its overall impact.

Let’s consider how transformative the California-type outcomes would be. Under single-payer in California, decent health care would be established as a basic human right, as it already is in almost all other advanced countries. Nobody would have to forego receiving needed treatments because they didn’t have insurance or they couldn’t afford high insurance premiums and copays. Nobody would have to fear a financial disaster because they faced a health care crisis in their family. Virtually all families would end up financially better off and most businesses would also experience cost savings under single-payer relative to what they pay now to cover their employees.

How can the opposition from the private health insurance sector, big pharma and the medical industries in general be overcome? It obviously will not be easy. Health care in the US is a $3 trillion business. Profits of the private companies are in the hundreds of billions, even while most of the funding for our existing health care system comes from the federal, state and local government budgets. As one example of how to respond to this political reality, we can learn from the work of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. The nurses’ union has been fighting for single-payer for over 20 years. They bring enormous credibility to the issue, because their members see firsthand how the health and financial well-being of especially non-wealthy people in the US suffer under our current system.

There is no secret as to how the nurses’ union fights on behalf of single-payer. They believe in their cause and are highly effective in the ways they organize and advance their position. The basics are as simple as that.

There is a Student Loan Crisis for African American Borrowers

Photo Credit: AFL-CIO

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Education provided the first-ever look at long-term outcomes for student loan borrowers, including results by race and ethnicity.

The data show that 12 years after entering college, the typical African American* student who started in the 2003-04 school year and took on debt for their undergraduate education owed more on their federal student loans than they originally borrowed. This holds true even for students who finished a bachelor’s degree at a public institution. One reason they might not be paying down their loans? Nearly half of African American borrowers defaulted, including 75 percent of those who dropped out of for-profit colleges.

These results show that the U.S. Department of Education cannot ignore the interaction of race and student loans. Traditionally, the agency has not collected any data on the race of borrowers, except in irregular sample surveys conducted by its quasi-independent statistical arm. Unfortunately, not collecting this information has allowed for the disparate outcomes by race to go unnoticed.

Seeing even African American students who earned a bachelor’s degree struggle also reinforces that we cannot pretend the federal student loan program exists in a vacuum. The median African American household has just $1,700 in accumulated wealth. Racial discrimination in hiring has not improved over the past quarter century. Perhaps it’s too much to expect student loans and postsecondary education to solve these structural problems, but sending African American students into an inequitable adulthood with large debts from college can put them even further behind than they already start.

These are not problems that will be fixed easily. But the first step is conducting a full analysis of the problem. The Department of Education must start collecting data on the race and ethnicity of its borrowers. It should carefully review outcomes such as completion, repayment, and default by race and ethnicity within institutions to identify colleges with sizable gaps in results. Institutions with particularly awful results for racial and ethnic subgroups—such as default rates of more than 75 percent—should be further reviewed to ensure that they are not engaging in intentional discrimination. This could include recruiting people who they know will struggle to repay just so the institution can pocket students’ federal financial aid dollars or disproportionately directing financial aid to white students.

Such reviews must go beyond the outcomes that loan borrowers experience. States and institutions also need to consider if policies may be driving African American students to borrow, either intentionally or unintentionally. These could include well-meaning admissions practices that divert African American students to schools with fewer resources, resulting in students getting less grant aid and paying more out of pocket or lacking the support they need to graduate. Such policies could also include financial aid requirements, such as minimum GPAs, that could disproportionately result in African American students losing their aid, forcing them to borrow more to make up for the loss. Reviews should also look at placement practices for remedial education to see if they lead more students of color to accumulate debt for courses that do not carry college credit.

5 findings

This column presents five key findings on the new student loan outcomes data by race and ethnicity. Except where noted otherwise, these figures represent what happened to students by 2015—12 years after entering school in the 2003-04 academic year. Students count as borrowers if they took out a loan for their undergraduate education during this time, even if they did not do so in the first year they entered. Results by school type are based upon the sector first attended by a student. In other words, a student who started at a public two-year school and transferred to a public four-year institution shows up in the former category.

1. African American students are more likely to borrow than their peers

Regardless of the type of institution first attended, African American students were more likely to borrow than their peers, differences that speak to the disparities in levels of financial means that African American students have upon entry. African American borrowing rates are higher than those of other students even at public institutions, which typically carry lower price tags than private options. Even at community colleges, more than 60 percent of African American students borrowed, compared with less than half of white or Latino students.

2. The typical African American borrower made no progress paying down their loans

Borrowing for college is not inherently bad if it unlocks opportunities that are not otherwise available—and if the borrower can retire their debt in a timely manner. Unfortunately, 12 years after entering college, the median African American borrower owed more than they originally borrowed. By contrast, the typical Latino and white student had made progress retiring their debt. Although this problem is not new, the situation has gotten worse, with the African American students who began college in 2003-04 owing 113 percent of what they originally borrowed. By comparison, African American borrowers who started college in 1995-96 and owed 101 percent a dozen years later.

3. Bachelor’s degree completion does not insulate African American borrowers from bad outcomes

The common narrative in student loan policy today is that dropping out is by far the biggest threat to repayment. Unfortunately, even African American students who completed a bachelor’s degree still struggle to repay their loans. Twelve years after entering school, the typical African American borrower who completed a bachelor’s degree owed 114 percent of what they originally borrowed. The corresponding figure for white students is 47 percent, and the figure for Latino students is 79 percent. The results for African American students also cannot be solely attributed to income. Overall, the median bachelor’s degree graduate who received a Pell Grant and also borrowed owed 80 percent of their original balance 12 years after entering.

The story holds true for every level of attainment, or lack thereof. Regardless of whether they graduated or dropped out, the median African American student owed more than they originally borrowed.

4. Nearly half of African American borrowers defaulted on a student loan

One of the reasons African American borrowers may carry debt burdens higher than their original loans is that they are highly likely to default on their loans. Forty nine percent of African American students who borrowed for their undergraduate education defaulted on a federal student loan.

The default rate for African American students is high even for those who succeeded. For instance, nearly one-quarter of African American borrowers who completed a bachelor’s degree defaulted on the loan, compared with 9 percent of all borrowers who earned this credential. Even African American bachelor’s degree graduates who started at a public four-year institution had a default rate of nearly 25 percent. Similar to the amount owed, the results for African American borrowers are worse than those for Pell Grant recipients overall. The results also show the need to rethink loan policies for certificate programs. A majority of African American or Latino students who borrowed and completed one of these credentials defaulted within 12 years of entering college.

5. 75 percent of African American dropouts from for-profit colleges defaulted

Nowhere is the default problem worse than for individuals who attended a private for-profit college but didn’t finish. Twelve years after first entering college, three-quarters of African American students who borrowed and dropped out of a private for-profit college had defaulted on a federal student loan.

Admittedly, the default rates for dropouts are still bad in other sectors. Nearly two-thirds of African American borrowers who dropped out of public or private nonprofit four-year colleges defaulted on their loans within 12 years of entering college.

More recent numbers might be even worse

As bad as the figures in this column might be, the results for more recent students could be worse. The data here cover students who started college in 2003-04. However, the peak of the private for-profit college market did not occur until several years later. In fact, private for-profit college enrollment more than doubled from 2004-05 to 2010-11. Default rates for students at for-profits also rose.

Inequitable equalizer

It’s popular to talk about higher education as the great equalizer. It is true that all things being equal, people are better off obtaining a college degree than not. But these new federal data show that college completion is a necessary but insufficient solution to inequality challenges. To be sure, not all structural racial problems can be solved by higher education alone, but some can. Policymakers can strive to create a world where African American students are not more likely to start their careers with large loan debts to repay, delaying their ability to accumulate wealth compared with their white peers who either did not borrow or who carry lower loan balances. Admissions practices and funding systems could be fixed so that African American students do not end up disproportionately underrepresented at institutions with the greatest resources to educate them.

These results also underscore the need for greater accountability around federal financial aid. The precarious position faced by even bachelor’s degree graduates shows that policymakers need to push institutions to do all they can to ensure African American students receive affordable, high-quality credentials.

While these changes will not end structural problems around wealth, employment, and race, they would be a down payment on creating a federal student loan system that provides better than a 50-50 shot for its African American borrowers.

* The Department of Education data analyzed in this column refer to the demographic groups “Black or African American” and “Hispanic or Latino.” To avoid confusion and for simplicity, the column text uses the terms “African American” and “Latino” throughout.

This post originally appeared on the website of the Center for American Progress.

Ben Miller is a senior policy analyst in the New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program. He was previously a senior policy advisor in the U.S. Department of Education.

Study Reveals Nearly Half of U.S. Medical Care Comes From ER Visits

Nearly half of all U.S. medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered by emergency departments has grown. The paper highlights the major role played by emergency care in health care in the U.S.

“I was stunned by the results. This really helps us better understand health care in this country. This research underscores the fact that emergency departments are critical to our nation’s healthcare delivery system.” said David Marcozzi, an associate professor in the UMSOM Department of Emergency Medicine, and co-director of the UMSOM Program in Health Disparities and Population Health. “Patients seek care in emergency departments for many reasons. The data might suggest that emergency care provides the type of care that individuals actually want or need, 24 hours a day.”

Although he now focuses on population health, Dr. Marcozzi is an emergency room doctor himself, and works one or two days a week in the University of Maryland Medical Center emergency department, treating patients.

This is the first study to quantify the contribution of emergency department care to overall U.S. health care. The paper appears in the latest issue of International Journal for Health Services.

For this study, Dr. Marcozzi and his colleagues examined publicly available data from several national healthcare databases, which covered all 50 states and the District of Columbia. They studied the period between 1996 and 2010.

For 2010, the most recent your study, the study found that there were nearly 130 million emergency department visits, compared with almost 101 million outpatient visits and nearly 39 million inpatient visits. Inpatient visits typically involve a hospital stay, but are planned ahead, as opposed to emergency department visits, which are generally at least somewhat unexpected.

Over the 14-year period of the study, more than 3.5 billion health care contacts – emergency department visits, outpatient visits, and hospital admissions took place. Over that time, emergency care visits increased by nearly 44 percent. Outpatient visits accounted for nearly 38 percent of contacts. Inpatient care accounted for almost 15 percent of visits.

Certain groups were significantly more likely to use the emergency department as their method of healthcare. African-American patients were significantly more likely to have emergency department visits than patients in other racial groups; patients in the “other” insurance category, which includes those without any type of insurance, were significantly more likely to have emergency department visits than any other group. And patients living in the South were significantly more likely to have emergency department visits than patients living in other areas of the country.

African-American patients used emergency departments at a higher rate than other groups. In 2010, this group used the emergency department almost 54 percent of the time. The rate was even higher for urban African-American patients, who used emergency care 59 percent of the time that year. Emergency department use rates in south and west were 54 percent and 56 percent, respectively. In the northeast, use was much lower, 39 percent of all visits.

Certain groups accounted for increasing percentages of overall emergency room use: African-Americans, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, residents of the south and west, and women. Dr. Marcozzi says that these findings point to increasing use by vulnerable populations, which is no surprise since socioeconomic and racial inequality creates barriers to the use health care.

The use of emergency care resources for non-emergency cases has been controversial, since initial emergency care patients often end up being seen for non-emergency medical issues. Some experts argue that emergency departments are covering for deficiencies in inpatient and outpatient resources, and for a lack of effective prevention strategies. This could contribute to the high rate of emergency department use. They argue that emergency room use should be reduced.

Dr. Marcozzi says this is unlikely to happen anytime soon, given the structure of the country’s health care system. He also notes that it may not be the best option. Instead, he says we should work to connect the care delivered in emergency departments with care delivered by the rest of the healthcare system.

The paper was co-authored by researchers at other academic institutions, including Brendan Carr, a professor of emergency medicine and associate dean at Thomas Jefferson University.

Source: University of Maryland School of Medicine

New York Corporate Whistleblower Center Now Urges a Nursing Home Employee in New York With Proof Their Employer Is Overbilling Medicare For Medical Treatments to Call About Rewards

We are convinced there probably a more than a few people in New York State who could be millionaires based on their inside information about Medicare fraud and healthcare companies”

— New York Corporate Whistleblower Center

WASHINGTON, DC, USA, October 24, 2017 / — The New York Corporate Whistleblower Center says, “We are urging a manager or an employee at a New York State nursing home, a skilled nursing facility, a dialysis center or a company providing hospice services to call us anytime at 866-714-6466 if they can prove their employer is involved in significant Medicare overbilling for needless medical treatments. Recently a small group of whistleblowers with this exact type of information received a $3.6-million-dollar reward.” http://NewYork.CorporateWhistleblower.Com

To illustrate what the New York Corporate Whistleblower Center is talking about in July 2017 the Department of Justice announced a Midwest based healthcare company has agreed to pay approximately $19.5 million to resolve allegations pertaining to the submission of false claims for medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy and hospice services to Medicare.

The settlement resolves allegations that, from January 2008 through December 2012 the healthcare company submitted bills to Medicare for medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services at 18 skilled nursing facilities. The government contended that the therapy services were provided at excessive levels to increase Medicare reimbursement for those services.

According to the New York Corporate Whistleblower Center, “We are convinced there probably a more than a few people in New York State who could be millionaires based on their inside information about Medicare fraud and healthcare companies ripping off the federal government. If you possess this type of information please call us anytime at 866-714-6466. Why sit on a winning lotto ticket without ever knowing what it could be worth?” http://NewYork.CorporateWhistleblower.Com

Simple rules for a whistleblower from the New York Corporate Whistleblower Center: Do not go to the government first if you are a potential whistleblower with substantial proof of wrongdoing. The New York Corporate Whistleblower Center says, “Major whistleblowers frequently go to the government thinking they will help. It’s a huge mistake. Do not go to the news media with your whistleblower information. Public revelation of a whistleblower’s information could destroy any prospect for a reward. Do not try to force a company/employer or individual to come clean about significant Medicare fraud, overbilling the federal government for services never rendered, multi-million-dollar state or federal tax evasion, or a New York based company falsely claiming to be a minority owned business to get preferential treatment on federal or state projects. Come to us first, tell us what type of information you have, and if we think it’s sufficient, we will help you with a focus on you getting rewarded. We also want to emphasize our initiative is statewide throughout New York State including communities such as New York, Rochester, Albany, Yonkers, Syracuse, Schenectady, Utica, or Buffalo.

Unlike any group in the US the Corporate Whistleblower Center can assist a potential whistleblower with packaging or building out their information to potentially increase the reward potential. They will also provide the whistleblower with access to some of the most skilled whistleblower attorneys in the nation. For more information a possible whistleblower with substantial proof of wrongdoing in New York can contact the Whistleblower Center at 866-714-6466 or contact them via their website at http://NewYork.CorporateWhistleBlower.Com.

For attribution please refer to the July 2017 Department of Justice press release on this matter.

Thomas Martin
New York Corporate Whistleblower Center
email us here

African American man charged with anti-black graffiti that shook Eastern Michigan University

Eddie Curlin (Michigan Department of Corrections)

Last fall and in the spring, the otherwise quiet campus of Eastern Michigan University was hit by three ugly incidents of vandalism targeting blacks that rocked the community.

The first came in September, when “KKK” was sprayed in red, white and blue paint on the wall of a dormitory, along with a threatening racial slur telling blacks to “leave” the school in Ypsilanti, about 11 miles southeast of Ann Arbor.

Then, on Halloween, the same ominous hate message using the n-word and ordering blacks to leave showed up on another building, this one right next to the campus’s monument to Martin Luther King.

“It really has rocked our community,” Judith Kullberg, an EMU political scientist and president of the faculty senate told The Washington Post. “In this whole context of a very tense presidential election it has raised anxiety here considerably.”

In the spring, a third racist message was left in a men’s restroom stall.

Coming as other campuses were being hit by similar acts of what appeared to be hate vandalism, the incidents sparked protests and made national news.

On Tuesday, the university was shaken again when police announced that a 29-year-old black man, a former student, had been charged with all three crimes.

The suspect was identified as Eddie Curlin, a student at the school from 2014 to 2016, currently serving a one-to-five year sentence on an unrelated charge of receiving and concealing stolen property, according to a university statement.

Curlin was arraigned in Washtenaw County District Court on charges of malicious destruction of property, identity theft and using computers to commit a crime. A preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 9.

Eastern Michigan student Mikea LaPierre, left, holds a sign in protest of racist graffiti found on campus in Ypsilanti, Mich., in 2016. (Ann Arbor News via AP)

EMU’s chief of police, Robert Heighes, did not explain the motive of the suspect, except to say that “it was not driven by politics and it was not driven by race. It was an individual item done by one individual,” he told the campus newspaper, the Eastern Echo.

Campus police noted that they had committed more than 1,080 hours of time to investigating the incidents, with the help of the FBI and the Michigan State Police, among others.

“To know that it was a person of color is hurtful,” a black student, Jaiquae Rodwell, told the paper. “As a black student, to know that another black person is using the N-word in a negative way is embarrassing.”

The arrest was one of several around the county over the past year in which an apparent act of racism or anti-Semitism was traced not to a hate group but to a suspect belonging to the targeted minority.

In December, for example, an African American member of a historic black church in Greenville, Miss., was charged with setting fire to it, and writing “Vote Trump” on the outside of the building.

In March, an American-Israeli Jewish man was arrested in connection with a series of bomb threats aimed at Jewish community centers in the United States and elsewhere.

To judge from news accounts at least, such cases are still relatively rare. Most arrests and convictions for hate-related crimes of violence or vandalism follow the traditional pattern.

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