Economic News & Views

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Harry Truman once said “It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own.”

If you’re wondering what’s happening with either the U.S. or world economy then you’ve come to the right place.

Topics of interest include economic growth and productivity, fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, inflation, deflation, labor statistics (employment and unemployment), the national debt, and more.

Guess what? Stamp prices are going up. Again. Effective tomorrow (Jan 26, 2014) a first class stamp will increase from 46 to 49 cents. That’s for a 1 ounce letter. Additional ounces will likewise be increasing from 20 to 21 cents. And postcards will go from 33 to 34 cents. […]

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The Future of the Minimum Wage

by Michael on Dec 20, 2013 · 3 comments

While perusing the news with the excellent Zite app the other night, I ran across an interesting article about public sentiment regarding possible changes to the federal minimum wage. It described a “nationally representative” poll that asked if people thought the minimum wage should be raised, lowered, or left alone. […]

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A reader named Chris just let me know that the U.S. Treasury has modified the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule relating to FSAs. In the past, when you had unspent funds left in your Flexible Spending Account at the end of the year, you lost them to your employer. Yes, your employer already […]

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Remember what happened last time we bumped up against the debt ceiling and it looked like we might willingly default? That’s right, a major rating agency downgraded our credit rating. Indeed, back in August 2011, Standard & Poor’s dropped our rating from Aaa to Aa+. In doing so, they laid […]

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As I write this, we’re less than two hours from a federal government shutdown. By the time you read this, it may have happened (probably) or it may have been averted (unlikely). Or maybe it will have happened and then been resolved. While I consider the most current controversy to […]

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Interest Rates and Bond Prices

by Michael on Jul 22, 2013 · 2 comments

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation recently released some troubling poll results about the “financial capability” of members of the American public. A key aspect of their poll, which was conducted in 2012 and followed a similar survey in 2009, was a five question quiz covering everyday aspects of finance and […]

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States With No Sales Tax

by Michael on May 3, 2013 · 2 comments

As a quick followup to my earlier post on the impact of the internet sales tax, I wanted to share with you the list of states that do not (currently) collect sales and use taxes. As of this writing, there are five such states, including: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, […]

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Effect of the Internet Sales Tax

by Michael on May 3, 2013 · 2 comments

I mentioned the internet sales tax debate in passing about six weeks ago. At the time, the Senate was talking about giving states more power to collect sales taxes. Ultimately, they wound up voting on a non-binding measure in support of doing just that. And it passed easily, with bi-partisan […]

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