San Francisco to ban cashless stores to fight discrimination against low-income communitiesThe city of San Francisco will soon require stores to accept cash as a form of payment, as officials cite an apparent discriminatory impact cashless stores have on low-income people and poor communities. Nearly all 11 members of the city’s board of supervisors have co-sponsored a bill that would ban cashless brick-and-mortar retailers citywide. Supervisor Vallie Brown, who introduced the legislation, noted the obstacles the city’s homeless population would face if cashless payments were to become the standard in San Francisco, one of the nation’s largest tech bubbles. “I just felt it wasn't fair that if someone wanted to buy a sandwich in a store, and they had cash, that they would be turned away,“ she told the Associated Press. ”We also have our homeless population. They're not banked.“San Francisco joins a growing list of cities across the country forcing stores to accept paper money, as tech giants experiment with new brick-and-mortars like Amazon Go, where customers automatically pay virtually with a credit card. Similar bills have been introduced in New York City, while New Jersey and Philadelphia have also passed legislation requiring stores to accept cash. Temporary pop-up stores and internet-only businesses such as ride-hailing companies would be exempt, as would food trucks, which say they lack the resources to handle cash.Though plenty of cheap dim sum spots, taquerias and dive bars take only cash, some retailers argue that not taking cash is safer and more efficient.Cashless restaurants are clustered in San Francisco's Financial District and South of Market neighbourhoods, where white-collar employees devour upscale salads and protein bowls.Those now refusing paper money include Bluestone Lane, a New York-based coffee chain, and The Organic Coup, which sells organic fast-food chicken. At Freshroll Vietnamese Rolls & Bowls, which has several lunch spots downtown, signs remind customers of its no-cash policy.Andy Stone, vice president of brand marketing at Bluestone Lane, said the company “will always comply with the laws of jurisdictions where we operate” and is awaiting the vote.Some businesses appear to be getting on board as the backlash grows.Salad chain Sweetgreen announced last month that it will accept cash at all its restaurants by year's end, saying going cashless “had the unintended consequence of excluding those who prefer to pay or can only pay with cash.”The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce did not take a position on the proposal.The Associated Press contributed to this report
The $1.6 trillion (£1.22 trillion) in US student debt may not pose a direct threat to the economy, but it’s causing anguish that goes far beyond financial concerns for the people who owe it.
One in 15 borrowers has considered suicide due to their school loans, according to a survey of 829 people conducted last month by Student Loan Planner, a debt advisory group.
Most student debt is held by people with balances on the lower end of the scale, with only 0.8 percent of the US population owing more than $100,000 (£76,350), according to Deutsche Bank economists.
They have labelled the issue as a “micro problem” for individuals, rather than a macro problem for the economy.
Yet that still equates to 2.8 million people with around $495 billion (£378 billion) in debt as of March, according to US Department of Education data.
Even more worrying is that it’s an increase of almost $61 billion (£46.6 billion) since the end of 2017.
Not to mention that unlike buying a home, an education isn’t a tangible asset that can be sold.
It’s also turning into a hot political issue as next year’s presidential election approaches.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed a plan to cancel loans for many borrowers, while former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper addressed some of the knock-on effects for the economy in a presentation at the Milken Institute conference earlier this week.
“Of course millennials would love to buy a house,” Mr Hickenlooper said on 30 April in Los Angeles. But, “they’re buried in debt!”
The following scenarios show the monthly costs associated with different levels of student debt.
The first envisages a 10-year loan at six percent. To put the figures into perspective, a 30-year mortgage of $400,000 (£305,400) at current interest rates would cost about $2,000 (£1527) per month.
In the second scenario, loans are shown over a 20-year term with rates at seven percent.
Monthly payments are smaller but the overall burden is bigger, with total interest payments on $100,000 (£76,350) of debt rising above $86,000 (£65,660).