Economy

Donations to Religious Institutions Decline for Second Straight Year

Offering tray photo, Wellford Tiller / Shutterstock.com

Offering tray photo, Wellford Tiller / Shutterstock.com

Post-recession America is beginning to open its wallet to charities again, but is not giving as generously to religious institutions.

While charitable donations from individuals rose nearly 4 percent overall in 2011, according to the annual "Giving USA" report, donations to houses of worship and other religious bodies dropped by 1.7 percent — a decrease for the second year in a row.

The report, compiled by the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy and released on June 19, shows that individual Americans gave nearly $218 billion last year, $96 billion of which went to religious organizations.

A Political Impasse on the Economy

David Horsey writes in the Los Angeles Times:

"The best thing that can happen is that one party or the other wins both the presidency and control of Congress in the November election. It may have made sense in a more civil era, but divided government no longer works; the divide is simply too great. We desperately need a coherent national economic policy, and even a flawed one that is fully implemented may be better than one that is permanently stalled."

Read more here

Time for the Next Generation to Form New Economic Agenda?

Writing for The Daily Beast today, Joel Kotkin argues:

The developed world’s youth shouldn’t expect much help from an older generation that has preserved its generous arrangements at the cost of increasingly stark prospects for its own progeny. Instead the emerging generation needs to push its own new agenda for economic growth and expanded opportunity.

Read more here

Is Income Inequality to Blame for the Faltering Economic Recovery?

In a thought-provoking piece for Al Jazeera, Yale lecturer John Stoehr writes:

According to a study by the Center for American Progress, there is a striking correlation between the decline of infrastructure and the rise of inequality over the past four decades. In other words, the more money going to the top income earners, the more the rest of us deal with potholes, decrepit bridges, rusting rail cars and the rest.

Read the full piece here

Is Hope the Key to Tackling Poverty?

In the latest edition of The Economist, a new theory on how to tackle poverty: offer hope.

The idea that an infusion of hope can make a big difference to the lives of wretchedly poor people sounds like something dreamed up by a well-meaning activist or a tub-thumping politician. Yet this was the central thrust of a lecture at Harvard University on May 3rd by Esther Duflo, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology known for her data-driven analysis of poverty. Ms Duflo argued that the effects of some anti-poverty programmes go beyond the direct impact of the resources they provide. These programmes also make it possible for the very poor to hope for more than mere survival.

Read more about Ms. Duflo's research here

Voters See Brighter Future for Economy

The Hill reports on a new poll focussing on the country's economic prospects:

Voters are optimistic the economy will improve in the next year, but still hold doubts on President Obama’s economic policies, a new USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday finds. Likely voters in the U.S. think the economy is improving already, giving Obama an edge as the incumbent. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed believe they will be "better off" next time this year and 58 percent predict good economic conditions in a year.

Read more about the poll here

David Brooks on 'The Structural Revolution'

For the International Herald Tribune yesterday, David Brooks examines what he perceives as the coming 'structural revolution' in the global economy:

"The country is divided when different people take different sides in a debate. The country is really divided when different people are having entirely different debates. That’s what’s happening on economic policy....

Make no mistake, the old economic and welfare state model is unsustainable. The cyclicalists want to preserve the status quo, but structural change is coming."
Read his full analysis here
 

Why the Economy Is Where It Is

Jared Bernstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities takes a look at the economic situation for The Huffington Post and asks:

"Why are advanced economies so seemingly immune to correct diagnosis and prescription? Why are we applying leeches instead of the contemporary medicine of combined monetary and fiscal stimulus in order to once and for all hit the escape velocity that's eluded us thus far?"

Take a look at his answers here

Why Fixing the Economy is Easier Than We Think

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Paul Krugman talks about his new book, and why fixing the economy is easier than we think:

Four years after the start of the Great Recession, nobody would mistake U.S. economy for a thrumming engine of growth, prosperity, and human flourishing. Sure, we're officially out of "recession." But the recovery is painfully slow and uneven, and 24 million Americans are still unemployed or underemployed. There's a lot of pain out there, and a lot of potential going to waste.

Read the interview here

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