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August 2, 2011

Shocker: Tooth Fairy investing less in kids’ teeth due to the recession

  • $2.60 average amount the tooth fairy gives a kid for a lost tooth
  • 40¢ dip from the last survey; that’s $3, for the math-challenged source

» We’ve been really worried about the whole debt-ceiling mess for the past few days, but it really says something about the economy when the tooth fairy isn’t even giving as much for kids’ pearly whites. Perhaps, like Glenn Beck, she’s chosen to invest in gold instead of teeth. We hear gold’s doing pretty well nowadays.

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18:33 // 3 years ago
July 28, 2011

An update on the debt ceiling shenanigans

boehner’s bill falls short: After a chaotic day of vote-whipping, vote-delaying, and vote-switching, John Boehner has decided to postpone the vote on his debt ceiling bill. Despite multiple assurances that it would be brought to a vote before tomorrow, at the end of the day, Boehner didn’t have enough votes to ensure the bill’s passage (and he wasn’t going to embarrass himself by introducing a bill that was sure to fail). In an unusual alignment, conservative Tea Partiers and House Democrats all pledged to vote against the bill, albiet for different reasons. While the legislation has virtually no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate, Boehner’s ability to shepherd it through the House is seen by many as the first real test of his leadership abilities. If he doesn’t eventually pass it, there’s a good chance he’ll (eventually) be deposed as Speaker. But it’s not over yet—sources say Republicans plan to tweak the bill a bit, and re-introduce it tomorrow.  source

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23:23 // 3 years ago
July 27, 2011

Laptop broken? Enroll in an Owensboro, KY public school

  • FREE Macbooks for kids in Kentucky! source

» We were generally supportive of the 2009 stimulus package, but aspects of it are starting to seem a bit questionable, to say the least. Case in point: 2,200 students and staff in the town of Owensboro, Kentucky will soon be enjoying a free Macbook Air, courtesy of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While we’re all for providing students with the technical competency needed to compete in the 21st-century global economy, you don’t really need to give everyone a Macbook Air to do that. The cheapest Air is $999; if we assume, for the sake of argument, that Apple gave Owensboro a 50% bulk discount, that’s still over a million dollars of federal money being spent so kids can have free laptops. Opponents of “wasteful government spending,” your Exhibit A is right here.

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21:57 // 3 years ago

Pew study: There’s a massive wealth gap along racial lines

  • $113,149 average net worth of a white household in 2009
  • $5,677 average net worth of a black household in 2009 source

» That is a stark difference. In their latest study, Pew compared the net wealth of families in various racial groups and found that blacks and Latinos in particular did very poorly compared to whites. (Asians, on the other hand, were somewhat within shouting distance. EDIT: Please see explanation.) This is a historic trend which has lasted decades, but has become all the more apparent with the Great Recession. “The bursting of the housing market bubble in 2006 and the recession that followed from late 2007 to mid-2009 took a far greater toll on the wealth of minorities than whites,” Pew writes in its study. While net wealth among whites fell roughly 16 percent, blacks families lost about 53 percent, and Latino families lost the most — losing 66 percent of their wealth on average.

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14:43 // 3 years ago
July 20, 2011

Federal Reserve slaps Wells Fargo with puny $85 million penalty

  • $85 millionpaid by Wells Fargo for its role in the subprime mortgage fiasco; the penalty was issued by the Federal Reserve
  • $25 billion received by Wells Fargo from the Troubled Assets Relief Program, colloquially known as the bailout source

» This is both the largest consumer protection fine ever levied by the Fed and the first time the institution has punished a bank for nudging customers into subprime loans. There’s more to come, too; in addition to the fine, the order also “requires that Wells Fargo compensate affected borrowers,” although it’s unclear how this will work. It’s better than nothing, but $85 million just seems a bit low; as a point of comparison, the bank made $2.5 billion in the first three months of 2010 alone.

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23:20 // 3 years ago
July 6, 2011
22:38 // 3 years ago
Almost nobody’s talking about one of the central points that everyone who has analyzed this situation makes – including the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission – which [is] you shouldn’t do any of this until the economy is clearly recovering.
Bill Clinton • Discussing the deficit-reduction fight going on in Washington, with dealing over the debt limit functioning as a negotiating tool for the GOP to push for spending cuts. This is an angle that’s been taken by many mainstream economists (though obviously, the world of economics can be as contentious as anywhere else), namely that the ability to put off paying down the deficit for a while, though it may not jive with the popular notion of fiscal responsibility, is a valuable tactic to avoid straining the economic recovery. To use an overly simplistic metaphor, if we were to gain thirty pounds over the course of a year, working out twelve hours every day wouldn’t be a healthful way to slim back down. It takes a while to gain the weight, so it’s only natural and measured that it’ll take a while to safely cast it off again. source (viafollow)
14:26 // 3 years ago
June 23, 2011
He was doing it because he lost his job and I was sick. … He did it. He did all of this.
Melinda Brady • Explaining what she says may have led her husband, David Laffer, to kill four people in a Long Island pharmacy on Father’s Day. During the shooting, the suspect reportedly tried to steal prescription drugs from the pharmacy he could not afford, in what sounds like an awful recession story in the making. Brady and Laffer, who proposed to his wife at a New York Islanders game a few years ago, were arrested Wednesday after local police received hundreds of tips on the case. source (viafollow)
10:20 // 3 years ago
June 8, 2011

Double-dip fuels fear of another Great Depression

  • 48% of people think another depression is coming source

» That’s the highest level ever. While the poll question (from a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll) had a slight majority — 51 percent — saying we probably won’t have one, a possible double-dip recession has many folks a little concerned. Obama promises that’s not going to happen. He better hope he’s right — 51 percent of people also said that the economy is extremely important in determining who they’ll vote for.

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14:31 // 3 years ago
May 17, 2011

Hewlett-Packard blames Japanese earthquake for problems

  • $5 the earnings per share Hewlett-Packard, the PC maker, expects to make by the end of the fiscal year; their shares are up from May 2010
  • $5.24 the earnings per share Wall Street expected; their stocks fell because of the predicted hardships that lie ahead for the company source

» A leaked memo from the CEO is to blame: The memo by Leo Apotheker caused the company’s stocks to fall. He cited the Japanese earthquake and weak PC sales as reasons to reduce hiring and prepare for another rough quarter. Even though their stocks are up from last year, they aren’t meeting market predictions, causing people to sell their shares in the company. Apparently, it’s causing the stock market to slow down overall. Yikes.

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14:01 // 3 years ago