You may have read that the Social Security Trust Fund is due to be depleted in 2033, a year earlier than previous projections. This sounds alarming, except for several caveats. First, the projected date of depletion has been in the 2035 range for the past decade, so this shift is really nothing new—or particularly alarming.… Continue Reading Will Social Security Go Bust?
The U.S. state with the oldest population has to be Florida, right? That’s where elderly people from the Northeast go to retire. Actually, no. Surprisingly, when you measure each state (and territory) by the median age of its citizens, you find that Maine is America’s oldest state, with a median age of 45.0 years old.… Continue Reading Oldest State Populations
Sometimes it’s not easy to realize just how big the U.S. economy is compared with the rest of the world. But a recent graphic published by the GZero organization gives a pretty good hint. Look at the map, and notice that North Dakota—one of the smallest states in the U.S. in terms of economic activity… Continue Reading State GDP Equivalents
The U.S. inflation rate hit 5.4% before scaling back a bit to 5%—rates which have raised alarms among investors, economists and most importantly the financial press. But how bad are these recent jumps in consumer prices compared with the rest of the world? If you look at inflation rates for other countries, our current CPI… Continue Reading Inflation Fears in Perspective
Every year since 1975, the Social Security Administration has automatically adjusted its benefit payments upward to account for inflation; the goal is for the payments to keep pace with the cost of living that recipients are experiencing. For the past decade, these inflation adjustments have been pretty modest, as you can see in the chart.… Continue Reading Inflation and Social Security
There’s a lot of buzz in the investment world about Bitcoin—and cryptocurrencies generally. Is it an investment? A real medium of exchange? Some of this interest undoubtedly comes from the fact that, in 2009, Bitcoins were selling for eight cents a coin. At the peak earlier this year, one of those coins was trading at… Continue Reading Bitcoin “Investments”
In the last few trading days, investors and traders were reminded once again that markets go down—sometimes with a lurch. The most recent lurch was this week’s 2.1% one-day decline in the popular S&P 500 index of U.S. stocks—which was described as “the biggest one-day drop since February.” In the first three days of the… Continue Reading Market Jitters & Inflation Worries
You already know that the U.S. stock markets are constantly testing all-time highs, and part of the euphoria is the idea that we may soon get our lives back. But is there any solid economic data to back it up? Recent Commerce Department data offers better news than anybody was expecting about the U.S. economy.… Continue Reading Good News on the (soon-to-be) Post-COVID Economy
You might wonder what you get in return for your tax dollars. The question isn’t so far-fetched; after all, the government collects those taxes—theoretically, at least—in order to give you back a comparable value in services like police protection, education, infrastructure and a social safety net. Are we getting what we pay for? A recent… Continue Reading Are Your Taxes Paying Off?