The Mission: Introduce a friend who’s been living in a cave to rock and roll, three albums at a time. Even he (she?) couldn’t help but be exposed to The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, so you can give him other material. You have five care packages available, with spots for three albums each. No greatest hits albums. Also, write your friend a letter telling him what you found hard to leave out and what you had no problem removing.
… is higher than credit card debt in our country (hat tip: Wall Street Journal). How can this be?, you may ask, when the number of news stories on credit cards seem to vastly outweigh the corresponding reports on student loans. Well, yes, credit card stories seem to outnumber student loan stories by a ratio of about 15 to 1, according to StudentLoanJustice.org. How did this happen?
How about this title in the Wall Street Journal? “Credit Cards Take From Poor, Give to the Rich” is the name, in reference to a Boston Federal Reserve Bank report on credit card reward programs. The paper says just that: credit card rewards programs and merchant fees for credit card usage are increasing the overall cost of goods for check and cash customers.
Here’s something you can really sink your teeth into – a calculator from the Tax Foundation which will let you input your tax data. What does it output? Well, your tax burden under the ‘Bush’ tax cuts (passed in 2003), your tax burden if the plan expires, and your tax burden if the changes in President Obama’s budget are enacted. Now that you have this data, you can cut through the noise and choose which one you like the best by simply figuring out under which plan you owe the least! Joy!
Carnivals and article links for the week!
That treasure trove of data the Bureau of Labor Statistics has a fascinating report that it calls the “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation” report. Last Wednesday it released its report on the compensation costs at various employer types (and locales) for March 2010. One of the interesting things it does, as picked up on Mark Perry’s (great) blog, is to spin out the government’s estimate of overall hourly wages – for private industry, and for state and local government workers. The government workers win in a first round knockout…
What’s grown faster than inflation the last 40 years? No, not medical expenses. What’s grown faster than that? You guessed it (from the title of this post) – education costs increased almost 1000% from 1978 to 2008, compared to about 300% in the generally price level as measured by consumer inflation. Yes, inflation is one of the categories of spending which is increasing at an off-the-chart-rate.
My friend sent me an article the other day which really summarized my thoughts succinctly – he sent me this piece from Evan Newmark writing at the Wall Street Journal. If you haven’t noticed the crazy action in the stock market in recent weeks and days, let me be the bearer of bad news: the major US indicators are down from their yearly peaks. You’ve probably lost some money on paper, even. Between oil in the Gulf, the Greece Drama, and even North Korea, there is a lot to be worried about. Here’s the thing – these are all known unknowns, and generally priced into the stock market already.
I haven’t recently taken a look at what the Treasury market is telling us about inflation… but that’s now changed, and I’m here to share with you. The market predicts continued smooth sailing on the currency front. My method is the very crude subtract real treasury yields from the yield curve. Currency stability is probably here to stay in the meantime, what with the only reasonable alternative in flux and everything… and the market reflects that truth.
Carnivals (2) and links (5) for the week!
Not: new articles when I get my new video card and monitor. Let’s go FedEx!