Monica Potts

Monica Potts is a freelance writer, and former staff member of The American Prospect. A fellow with the New America Foundation Asset Building Program, her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Connecticut Post and the Stamford Advocate. She also blogs at PostBourgie.

Recent Articles

Expensive Motherhood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that younger women had fewer children in 2008, probably because of the recession. Doctors suspect, of course, that younger women probably delayed childbirth for financial reasons. Meanwhile, the birth rate continued to rise for women in their 40s. (It has been rising for years, partly because of advances in fertility treatments.) Here's the easy answer for why women in their 40s didn't slow down during the downturn, from the AP story: "'You get to the point where biological clock starts ticking and people realize they have to do it,' said [James] Trussell , who was not involved in the research." Yes, because we all know that's our sole reason for being. The idea that women take their finances into consideration when they make family planning decisions shouldn't be a huge shocker to anyone by now, but it usually pops up in stories about whether bad economic times up the abortion rate. Whether women can afford a child is a...

A Complete Transit Policy.

I moved to D.C. for this job from Connecticut, where I was a reporter for a daily newspaper. The demands of both my job and living in a suburban city dictated that I buy a car. My costs and frustrations went up, my fitness level went down. When looking for housing in D.C., my top criteria was that I would be able to walk to work and ditch the car. Apparently, I'm not alone. As Matthew Yglesias noted about a little nugget in David Brooks ' column that promoted marriage, the thing that makes people least happy is their commute. So it's a relief that Ray LaHood , our transportation secretary, understands there are more ways to get around than driving. In his Q&A yesterday with The New York Times , he said he was just responding to Americans' desires for alternatives when he called for plans for bikers and walkers to be given the same consideration as plans for drivers. Sure, the plans aren't quite the "sea change" he characterized when he first began talking about what the plan would...

Saner Housing Policies.

Under the Obama administration, officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development have said they want a more balanced housing policy for low-income families that doesn't neglect renters just to expand homeownership. That goal was reflected in Obama's budget, and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found today that the president's proposed increase in funding for vouchers in the program formerly known as Section 8 would be enough to renew all vouchers for those who currently hold them: The added funds are needed primarily for two reasons. First, approximately 50,000 new vouchers that Congress has funded in recent years for homeless veterans and other groups will be renewed for the first time in 2011. Second, because of continued high rates of unemployment and weak wage growth, the gap between tenant incomes and housing costs is likely to widen this year and next in spite of the general weakness in the housing market. This pushes up voucher costs, which cover the...

Tolling the Cross Bronx.

A few days ago, The New York Times had a lighthearted story about how Bronx residents like to saunter down to the Cross Bronx Expressway, or stare at it contemplatively from their windows, as a source of entertainment or an inspired, quiet reverie. They used a study showing that the highway has three of the four of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country as a jumping-off point. While the Times likes to publish, and people like to read, stories about the surprising ways New Yorkers manage city life, those stories are usually relegated to the Style section. And they're usually about inconsequential things like, "How much will rich people pay for a parking space?" or "How much will rich people pay to have their garages organized?" But the story of the Cross Bronx has sociological underpinnings and consequences. Children in New York City as a whole are twice as likely to be hospitalized for asthma as children in the rest of the country, and the Bronx leads the city in asthma...

Contradictions in Sex Ed.

It wasn't until after the breathless passage of the health-care bill that we all noticed the $250 million set aside to restore abstinence-only education funding. The programs had been allowed to expire in 2010 by Obama , who instead started programs to prevent teenage pregnancy. The inclusion was especially odd because it was inserted by Republican Orrin Hatch , and didn't get his vote or, presumably, anyone's. Education Week reports today that the other odd thing is that it will operate in conjunction with Obama's bigger, evidence-based programs to teach comprehensive sex ed and programs to prevent teenage pregnancy. The abstinence-only funding could have been allowed to stay in the health-care bill because it requires state matching funds, and since 22 states had already rejected the money for the programs because they didn't want to meet strict requirements, it's possible some of the money will sit unused over the next five years. It also could have been allowed to stay because of...

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