Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Conference Announcment: Building Resilience for ALICE Households: Strengthening the Social and Economic Fabric of Society

On Thursday, September 12, 2013, I will be co-hosting with the United Way of Northern New Jersey a conference called "Building Resilience for ALICE Households: Strengthening the Social and Economic Fabric of Society".
The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University invites you to join a community-wide discussion to consider the size, scope, and impact of financially unstable households, dubbed ALICE, and their key role in New Jersey’s economy.

ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), a study of the true face of financial hardship in New Jersey, is the result of a collaboration between United Way of Northern New Jersey and Dr. Stephanie Hoopes Halpin, director of the New Jersey DataBank at Rutgers University. ALICE represents men and women of all ages and races who get up each day to go to work, but are unsure if they’ll be able to put dinner on the table each night. They are our child care workers, mechanics, home health aides, store clerks, and office assistants — workers who make our economy
run. This project revealed that one in four (770,000) households in New Jersey walks this financial tightrope, unable to afford the state’s high cost of living, one emergency from falling into poverty.

Building Resilience for ALICE Households will envision fresh public, corporate, and economic policies to strengthen New Jersey’s future. New data will be presented showing the economic effects of Superstorm Sandy on these fragile households. The impact of Sandy will demonstrate ALICE’s inability to weather a crisis — a perilous situation not only for these families but also for the entire community.

Please join us in stimulating a fresh dialogue among community leaders about how, together, we can provide ALICE with more opportunities to succeed.
10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (lunch will be provided)
John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development
Roosevelt-Perkins Room (second floor)
30 Livingston Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ

Christine Romans is the host of Your Money, CNN's Saturday and Sunday business program. In addition, Romans reports on the economy, politics, and international business for CNN’s morning shows. Her reporting is also regularly featured on CNN International. She is the author of two books: How to Speak Money (Wiley, 2011) and Smart is the New Rich (Wiley, 2010).

10:00 - 10:30 a.m.

10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
ALICE project and data overview, including new findings related to Superstorm Sandy

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Panel discussion & solutions strategy session

1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Keynote address: Christine Romans

2:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Summation & closing remarks

Space is limited and registration is required. Click here (
to register today!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

America's Great Divide

On July 22nd, I followed up my CNBC Street Signs (7/5/13) segment on the June Jobs Report
( ) with an appearance on Power Lunch with 
Peter Henry, Dean of the Stern Business School at NYU.

Our segment ( discussed the "Great Divide" between Wall Street and Main Street.

Here are my extended thoughts on the issue.


Q. Will the "Great Divide" widen?

Unfortunately, there is a good chance that we could see a third surge in income inequality. We saw increases in income inequality during the 1980s and from 2001 to 2007. Why a new surge?

-We are in the midst of an anemic recovery, especially for youth, minorities and the less educated.

Tepid growth in Gross Domestic Product. Not strong enough to create consistent job creation in excess of 150,000.
-We are over 30 months into the recovery. Almost 40% of the jobless are classified as long-term.
-Including those that are part-time, but want full-time work, raises the jobless rate to over 14%.
-Over the past 12 months, jobless rates have fallen, but largely due to labor force departure.
-A large portion of private sector jobs have been created in industries with below average earnings. 
-Women and minorities have borne the brunt of the over 600,000 job cuts in the public sector.

 Q. What role is policy playing in helping to generate a new surge in inequality?

We are making policy decisions that are slowing investments in what the UN calls "Human Priorities." These are the building blocks of life: education, training, community resources, and social safety nets. Specifically:

State and local governments continue to cut back services and employment.
Diminished Congressional political will to invest in job creation.
Sequestration will place a drag on economic growth.
$1.2 trillion across the board spending cuts over 10-year period
$85 billion in auto cuts started March 1, 2013

–Our conscious decision to weaken the social safety net is adding more economic “systemic risk” to low to moderate income families. Job loss, natural disasters, and other economic shocks are having greater immediate, short and long-term impacts.

I have said this in early post and opinion pieces and I will say it again. As the sage auto tech said, "You can pay me now, or pay me later."