In Political Obamacare Fight, the Poor Are Casualties

The New York Times’ article:  Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law

By SABRINA TAVERNISE and ROBERT GEBELOFF

A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.

Because they live in states largely controlled by Republicans that have declined to participate in a vast expansion of Medicaid, the medical insurance program for the poor, they are among the eight million Americans who are impoverished, uninsured and ineligible for help. The federal government will pay for the expansion through 2016 and no less than 90 percent of costs in later years.

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Pew Research on the 2012 U.S. Elections

For excellent analysis of all the most critical issues to the 2012 U.S. elections in America, see “Campaign 2012” of the Pew Research Center.

Highlights:

  • Are Americans better off today?  Well, they’re not worse off.  And partisanship has much to do with their view:  “Republicans consistently rate their personal finances more positively than do Democrats or independents, largely reflecting Republicans’ higher average income levels. But the gap has narrowed since the start of the recession in December 2007, as Republicans have come to view their financial situations less positively.”
  • In a word:  Obama  has gone from “inexperienced” and “change” in 2008 to “good/good man” and “trying/tried/tries” in 2012.  Romney?  “honest,” “businessman,” “rich.”
  • Tax hikes on those making $250,000 a year?  44% say it would help economy, 22% say hurt, and 24% say no difference.

There’s much more on the website, including the latest voter polls.

U.S. Department of Education: Big Racial Disparities in Schools

Black Students Face More Discipline, Data Suggests

By TAMAR LEWIN

Black students, especially boys, face much harsher discipline in public schools than other students, according to new data from the Department of Education.

Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school.

One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.

And in districts that reported expulsions under zero-tolerance policies, Hispanic and black students represent 45 percent of the student body, but 56 percent of those expelled under such policies.

“Education is the civil rights of our generation,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a telephone briefing with reporters on Monday. “The undeniable truth is that the everyday education experience for too many students of color violates the principle of equity at the heart of the American promise.”

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Racial Discrimination in the U.S.: Evidence from the 2000 HUD Study

Racial discrimination is difficult to establish.  Clearly, there is such discrimination.  But how do we know if the discrimination is due to race, or some other factor?  The key is to isolate the racial factors from all other possibilities.  This can best be done through experiments.  The U.S. government periodically commissions the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to conduct studies of rental and housing discrimination.  This is a summary of the 2000 study, describing their methods and what they found.

Methods:
In a paired test, two individuals— one minority and the other white— pose as otherwise identical homeseekers, and visit real estate or rental agents to inquire about the availability of advertised housing units. This methodology provides direct evidence of differences in the treatment minorities and whites experience when they search for housing.

Results :

Rental Sales

— Whites were consistently favored over blacks in 21.6 percent of tests.
— Whites were more likely to receive information about available housing units, and had more opportunities to inspect available units. 
— Hispanic renters nationwide also face significant levels of discrimination.  In contrast with Hispanics, Non-Hispanic whites were consistently favored in 25.7 percent of tests.

Patterns of Change

Discrimination against African American renters declined between 1989 and 2000, but was not eliminated. Discrimination against Hispanic renters appears to have remained essentially unchanged since 1989.

Home Sales

 White homebuyers were consistently favored over blacks in 17.0 percent of tests.
 White homebuyers were more likely to be able to inspect available homes and to be shown homes in more predominantly white neighborhoods than comparable blacks.
 Hispanic homebuyers also face significant levels of discrimination.  In contrast with Hispanics, Non-Hispanic whites were consistently favored in 19.7 percent of tests. In particular, non-Hispanic whites were more likely to receive information and assistance with financing, and to be shown homes in non-Hispanic neighborhoods than comparable Hispanic homebuyers.

Patterns of Change

Discrimination against African American homebuyers declined quite substantially between 1989 and 2000, but was not eliminated. However, geographic steering rose, suggesting that whites and blacks are increasingly likely to be recommended and shown homes in different neighborhoods.  Discrimination against Hispanic homebuyers declined since 1989.

Notes:

1.  Source:  http://www.huduser.org/publications/hsgfin/hds.html
2.  Its predecessors, the 1977 Housing Market Practices Study (HMPS) and the 1989 Housing Discrimination Study (HDS) found significant levels of racial and ethnic discrimination in both rental and sales markets of urban areas nationwide.