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economics

April 4, 2016

Americans are spending a lot on overdraft fees.

January 23, 2015

How do intentions announced from the Obama administration, which if enacted would reduce or eliminate benefits from 529 plans, fit into an agenda of supporting the middle class?

July 14, 2014

Discussing the findings from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development's new study on young adult financial literacy.

March 11, 2014

If insurance companies are content to force good drivers with lower socioeconomic profiles to pay more for insurance, as a report published this week reveals, then I believe that big data will punish them.

New research out this week shows that conventional auto insurance underwriting has seized upon what some would

May 11, 2011

In the last half-century in the US, the rise and fall of African-American households have been acutely impacted by the interaction between technology and geography. Going back to WWII, many Southern African-Americans worked in conditions that were only a few steps above the post-reconstruction era. The fist of Jim Crow remained firm. Sharecropping, where the landowner took 40 cents of revenue and even more after collecting on store credit, impoverished these families.

An economy suffers from structural unemployment when there is a mismatch between the available jobs and the supply

March 18, 2011

The trajedy in Japan is already changing the near future for many Americans. The impacts of this crisis are so large and so awful that it seems impossible to imagine that anything positive can come from it.

In spite of that, there is a bright side. No one wants to gain from a tragedy, but many

February 24, 2011

Finance leader speaks to payday lenders: Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) will be the keynote speaker for next week's Community Financial Services Association (CFSA) in Hollywood, Florida. The meeting includes sessions "Exit/Transition planning for the privately held payday lender"," and "Tribal Lending: Implications of the new Colorado Supreme Court Opinion." McHenry is chairing a Congressional committee that will establish means for more oversight of TARP. Sustaining members of CFSA can reserve a space at the meeting for $400,000.

More Income Inequality with Town and Gown: There seem to be two types of areas where there is

February 8, 2011
  • Retirees: Look to your left, look to your right.

One of you is going into your retirement without any savings.

AARP put together is topically appropriate video this week. While they could not seem to find anyone that would admit that they didn't personally have any savings, they did find some people that were willing to speculate about what

November 29, 2010

It is a big problem that Americans are not saving enough, and it ought to be important when people gauge the logic of making unsecured credit available at any price.  

There is an argument out there that has been propogated by advocates of payday lending, buy-here pay-here car lenders, and other high cost credit products. Here is one example, from an interent payday loan broker:

Some of us live from paycheck to paycheck, and when an emergency happens in between, we’re really messed up because we’re broke. It is at these times that a quick payday loan is like a miracle. What if you chip a tooth or suddenly need two new tires? If with insurance, you still need to pay the dentist something, and there’s no tire company that is just going to give you free tires.

 You need money, and you need it quick. Payday advance lenders can have money in your bank account in a few hours at the most. It is so easy to qualify. All you need is a computer with Internet access. There is no faxing here. You sign everything electronically, and the money is yours. There is no need to cash a check because the money is directly deposited into your account. It’s practically like a Christmas present....Take it all in stride even if your money is short. Don’t get all crazy; just relax. A quick payday loan can fix everything.

Except that a payday loan doesn't fix anything.

Our economy isn't what it used to be. Even when there are plenty of jobs, many people are just barely getting by. There are too many jobs that only pay $9 per hour. On the cost of living side, the news is even worse. Health care costs continue to go up for everyone. Many families are burdened by the high cost of college tuition. Even though incomes have stagnated, prices for big purchases have not. It costs $25,000 to buy a no-frills midsize American sedan.

The other day, a financial planner laid it out for me. He put it this way:  a successful retirement is one where you don't have to put yourself at the mercy of the generosity of the government. I couldn't disagree with his logic, even if his judgment of "success" was a bit dour. I often think of a successful retirement in terms of a long period of of

November 8, 2010

News that the Federal Reserve will buy more debt is good news for many American workers, but bad news for working people in the rest of the world.

During last week's meeting, the Fed said that it would buy$600 billion in Treasuries. When coupled with existing, but as yet unrealized commitments to buy other debt (MBS), then the Fed is poised to double down on US debt.

One key distinction in the new policy is the means by which the Fed plans to implement the buy. The Fed

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