June 18, 2019

Money

"The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) might have your money. The tax agency has announced that more than $1.4 billion in outstanding refunds remain unclaimed from 2015. Yes, billion."

“For a decade now, the people whose job it is to predict the economy’s performance have made the same mistake, again and again and again. They have been too optimistic.

The pattern started during the 2007-09 financial crisis, of course. But it didn’t end there. In the immediate aftermath, the Federal Reserve was too quick to see “green shoots” sprouting across the economy. And in the years since, forecasters at both the Fed and in the private sector have repeatedly made forecasts that turned out to be too sunny.

I was inspired to dig into these forecasts — and the errors in them — after reading a new academic paper last week, by Lawrence Summers, the former Treasury secretary, and Lukasz Rachel, of the Bank of England. That paper is part of Summers’s continuing argument that the economy is suffering from something called “secular stagnation.” The economy isn’t simply enduring a slow recovery from the crisis. Its problems are deeper, as I lay out in the column.”

"From a retired couple who lived in a tent to a young woman who got divorced, we talked to people about how they stopped the debt spiral."

"If such a thing as American exceptionalism remains, maybe it can be found in this: most Americans still pay their income taxes every year..."

"It’s the empirically verifiable conclusion from the 20th century’s bitter contest between capitalist and socialist states. It’s not a race we should have to run twice."

"So, just how expensive is it? Despite the fact childbirth is one of the most common reasons for hospital admissions in the U.S., it can be difficult for an individual to estimate how much she might end up paying to deliver a baby."

"In 2008 the U.S. economy was collapsing, but I myself was experiencing a brief and temporary period of financial abundance, the first and only time like this I have ever known."

"Tipping is confusing, and paradoxical. We tip some people who provide services but not others who work just as hard for just as little pay."

"Democrats are avoiding questions about how to pay for Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. The answer is quite simple... Polling has shown that raising taxes on the wealthy is popular with a majority of voters."

"Conservatives need to start talking about the rich as ‘fountainheads’ and ‘Atlases,’ individuals who are indispensable to wealth creation and general prosperity."

"“It’s not that children make you unhappy,” Blanchflower told me. “It’s the fact that they bring lots of expenses and difficulties. You have to buy the milk and the diapers. And that financial pressure gets muddled up with this.”"

"I for one believe that commercial drivers licenses are a necessary thing. Ditto the restrictions that we rightly impose upon the ability of any lunatic to declare himself a dentist and start drilling away with the Crafstman in his garage. But hair?"

"Since 1980, the incomes of the very rich have grown faster than the economy. The upper middle class has kept pace with the economy, while the middle class and poor have fallen behind."

"It was just one branch of one company in one city, but Amazon’s cancellation of its planned New York office has cities and companies all over the country rethinking their plans."

"The super-rich are always looking for ways to decrease the amount of taxes they have to pay. But what are the things they do to ease their burden? Experts break down 5 common strategies that help save their clients money."

"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."

"For a decade, the oligarchs of Silicon Valley and Puget Sound worked overtime to win over progressives. For the most part, they enthusiastically back the Left on its immigration, environmental, gender, and racial agendas."

"Progress in technological innovation, reducing poverty, and increasing life expectancy around the world continues to increase. Yet there is also persistent poverty in poor and fragile states..."

"In talmudic tort law.. the responsible party must transfer to the plaintiff an area of his best land of equivalent value- rather than a larger area of low-quality land. From the standpoint of classical economics, such a requirement is nonsensical."

"Yes, we’re all overwhelmed with email. One recent survey suggested that the average American’s inbox has 199 unread messages. But volume isn’t an excuse for not replying."

"In his State of the Union address last week, President Trump vowed the country can make its middle class “bigger and more prosperous than ever before.”"

"S’well’s success is impressive, but the brand has a host of competitors nipping at its heels in what has become an enormous market for high-end, reusable beverage containers."

"Millions of Americans filling out their 2018 taxes will probably be surprised to learn that their refunds will be less than expected or that they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service after years of receiving refunds."

"Smartphones often tether us to our jobs even when we're not at the office, making it hard to disconnect and find the balance between work and personal time."

"layoffs in the sense we mean now — when a business decides to terminate the employment of workers in the name of strategic planning... are a relatively recent phenomenon."

"Your office is a den of thieves. Don’t take my word for it: When a forensic-accounting firm surveyed workers in 2013, 52 percent admitted to stealing company property. And the thievery is getting worse."

"Businesses are nervous, unsure of whether the president's next move is to lower the tariffs or raise them. That's another reason business investment has flat-lined."

"His policies so far have, if anything, made these problems worse... conservatives, including the President’s economic advisor, suggested to cut key middle-class benefits such as Social Security and Medicare to pay for the deficits..."

"A new Economic Policy Institute study finds that Airbnb contributes to rising home prices in cities, yet often escapes comprehensive regulation."

"Under Warren’s plan, the tax rate on wealth would be two per cent, but it would only apply to American households worth at least fifty million dollars, of which there are fewer than eighty thousand."

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