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

Addressing the Pay Gap.

In light of a recent study that shows how little wealth black and Latina women have, we should be rushing to fix pay and wealth disparities. That's especially true given how devastating the recession is for families when underpaid women become the sole breadwinner. As Latoya Peterson notes for TAP , addressing the pay gap doesn't adequately address the difference in wealth, or assets minus debts, between women of all races and their male counterparts. Still, the pay gap is one of the causes of the almost total lack of wealth experienced by women of color. A bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act that would close some of the loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, which passed the House and is now sitting in the Senate. It would be better if it passed soon, in order to give families some recourse during the recession. Fatima Goss Graves , a vice president of the National Women's Law Center, says the bill is well-placed to move, and a hearing on the act last week was well attended. The act would...

Insurance That Doesn't Insure.

More and more doctors are dropping Medicaid; more and more patients are unable to continue to see their doctors. The cuts come as states anticipate losing federal aid and try to close budget gaps, reports The New York Times . These kind of low-reimbursement rates are what many fear with a single-payer system. And, to some extent, critics are right that the government would regulate rates. But, of course, it's entirely different to have an insurance system that only provides for the neediest and a system that collects premium contributions from and pays for everyone. More important is what happens to these patients, who the Times says struggle to find doctors and so delay care until they need to go to an emergency room. On a less dramatic scale, these kinds of problems are going to keep happening to more and more people who have stingier plans from their employers and have to pay more for every type of care. If a patient has to pay $800 or more toward an elective surgery that could...

The Broadband Plan.

Tomorrow, the Federal Communications Commission will reveal it's plan for increasing Internet access, but some of the highlights were revealed today. The goals include getting fast broadband access to 100 million households by 2020, and getting television stations to give up their unused frequencies for wireless Internet service providers. The last part is likely to meet resistance, writes the Associated Press . But the FCC chair, Julius Genachowski says that broadband Internet access is less a luxury than an economic necessity. Spreading access, especially to rural areas that don't have good infrastructure and to lower-income families for whom it is too expensive, will be good for economic growth, too. That's especially true since, as Paul Waldman noted in January, the U.S. ranks No. 18 in the world in broadband speeds. A big reason, of course, is that we didn't have a big government program to help increase access and make it cheaper, until now. The push is very similar to ones that...

Science and the President.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, growing impatient, criticizes the Obama administration for taking too long on needed reforms. The director from the group's scientific integrity program, Francesca Grifo , notes that President Obama promised as a candidate to end political interference with science. But, more than a year after his inauguration, the scientific reasons for particular policies still aren't made clear to the public, and scientists still aren't necessarily allowed to talk about their research results. Grifo points to progress at some agencies, but says Obama hasn't designed an overarching policy: A report released last week by George Washington University found that scientists face difficulties in disseminating their work, are not always able to speak freely with the public and press, and are blocked from sharing data with colleagues at other agencies. The report documents that federal scientists have seen little systemic change since the Obama administration took office...

Reviewing Stop-and-Frisk.

The New York City Council has finally decided to look into the police department's policy of saving personal information gathered during a stop-and-frisk, the Daily News reports . The department had been storing information from people who were stopped but not charged or accused of any wrongdoing in a database that could be searched by law enforcement officials. ( Christine) Quinn and (Peter) Vallone , who is chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee and whose father is former Speaker Peter Vallone, asked Kelly to explain when cops are allowed to search the database. They also asked for specific examples of when information from the database was helpful in cracking a case. "They make some interesting points that Commissioner Kelly is considering," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said in an e-mail. Saving the information only assumes it will be useful in future investigations, which assumes a level of criminality among people who've done nothing suspicious. That's particularly...

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