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Economy

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Seized by the Government: Likely Results

by Luke Landes

Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association) and Freddie Mac (the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) are companies that buy mortgages from lenders. Those lenders, by selling loans to the companies, have more cash on hand to lend to other individuals. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac then “repackage” the mortgages and sell them as securities ... Continue reading this article…

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Diddy Says: Lower Gas Prices So I Can Fly My Private Jet!

by Luke Landes

A few days ago, rap mogul “Diddy” (aka Sean Combs) shared his thoughts on high gas prices with the world through a video “blog” posted at Youtube. I’ve embedded the video below for all who are interested. Readers enjoying Consumerism Commentary via RSS will need to click through to see what Diddy has to say ... Continue reading this article…

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Bottled Water? What Was I Thinking?

by Smithee

A few years ago, when I started paying attention to my diet, I found that drinking at least a liter of water a day kept my brain functioning better, and in the case of two liters a day, kept me from gaining weight. Where I was living, the tap water was unpalatable, so I made ... Continue reading this article…

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Marketplace’s Budget Hero

by Smithee

NPR syndicates a show called “Marketplace” all over the country (and online, of course). I like to listen to the Morning Report while driving to work. The show does a great job of explaining current economic stories without a lot of technical explanations and acronyms. I found a game on the Web site called “Budget ... Continue reading this article…

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What is the Value of a Human Life?

by Luke Landes

When the Environmental Protection Agency decides which regulations to create and enforce, just like any business deciding to pursue a project, it runs a cost-benefit analysis. While typical businesses might compare the costs of obtaining equipment and paying salaries with the anticipated income from the project, the EPA has to consider grander variables. If the ... Continue reading this article…

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Gas Stations’ Profits Hurting: Should Congress Intervene?

by Luke Landes

A recent article on CNN Money described the woes of independent gas station owners. The increasing cost of a gallon of gasoline results in less profit thanks to the processing fees credit card companies charge the merchants. I can appreciate that doing business in this type of environment is tough. With gas prices soaring to ... Continue reading this article…

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Will a Gas Tax Holiday or Taxing Oil Companies Help the Economy?

by Luke Landes

To help Americans pay for the increasing price of a gallon of gas, Hillary Clinton is suggesting a suspension of the 18.4 cent per gallon tax on gasoline and 24.4 cent per gallon tax on diesel from Memorial Day through Labor Day while enacting a “windfall profits” tax on the oil companies which have been ... Continue reading this article…

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Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Wants to Reform the Financial System

by Luke Landes

The Federal Reserve may soon become much more powerful if Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has his way. Earlier today, he released the “Blueprint for a Modernized Financial Regulatory Structure,” which includes a number of recommendations designed to take power away from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Paulson’s recommendations The Federal Reserve should be able ... Continue reading this article…

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15 Families Hit Hard Recently: Time to Adjust Expectations?

by Luke Landes

CNN Money is featuring stories of 15 households that are facing dire financial straits thanks to the economic downturn. Even a rebate check this summer won’t go far to help these families. While some better decisions may have helped them prepare for the direct effects of a recession, hindsight is always 20/20. Here are the ... Continue reading this article…

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Fed Busy Lowering Rates Over the Weekend

by Luke Landes

While I was having dinner with my father last night, the Federal Reserve lowered the interest rate at which it loans money to central banks. While my family and I were discussing the economy (among a number of other more interesting topics), Ben Bernanke was actually doing something. Will the move help? It will be ... Continue reading this article…

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Middle-Class Millionaires are Concerned for Their Future

by Luke Landes

Are you concerned about your ability to maintain your current financial position? I am. Sure, I have an emergency fund, a significant cash cushion beyond the emergency fund, and steady income. But I have taken on risk. My long term investments are invested in the stock market which has proven to be more than a ... Continue reading this article…

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How the Future U.S. President Wants to Tax You

by Luke Landes

There’s no need for me to explain in detail the favored tax policy by each of the four leading candidates for the President of the United States for two reasons. First, Jeanne Sahadi wrote an excellent tax policy summary for Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Secondly, the candidates’ stances now may ... Continue reading this article…

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Economic Stimulus Tax Rebate Calculator

by Luke Landes

Welcome! If you’re new here, please consider subscribing to the Consumerism Commentary RSS feed! This article is for tax year 2008. For 2009 and beyond, see our roundup of 8 (or more) Ways to Benefit from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (AKA Stimulus Plan). Updated March 18, 2008 with an estimated schedule ... Continue reading this article…

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Economic Stimulus Package Has Not Been Finalized

by Luke Landes

I’m glad everyone is excited about receiving checks from the government in June or July, but there seems to be a misunderstanding amongst people I talk to. While President Bush and a contingent of the legistlative branch have agreed on the propsed details, the bill still has to pass the House and the Senate. None ... Continue reading this article…

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Fed Cuts Short-Term Rate By 0.75 Points

by Luke Landes

On my way into work this morning, I heard that Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve Board cut the target rate for banks’ short-term lending to 3.5 percent. This makes it more worthwhile for banks to take on more risk with their money, lending it out in cases where they’ve been tight lately. The Fed announced ... Continue reading this article…

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Economic Stimulus (and Blog Roundup)

by Luke Landes

President Bush is suggesting a $145 billion rebate to taxpayers in order to stimulate the economy and avoid economic recession in 2008. About $100 billion is reserved for individual tax payers and the rest is for businesses. This could come to the masses in the form of a $800 tax rebate check for each individual ... Continue reading this article…

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Toll Hikes Coming to N.J. Turnpike, G.S. Parkway, A.C. Expressway, and Route 440

by Luke Landes

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine announced yesterday a plan to raise money in New Jersey to issue bonds in a public benefits corporation that will manage the toll roads. The bonds will be paid back through a series of toll increases. Starting in 2010 and every four years until 2022, toll prices on the New ... Continue reading this article…

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Ignore the Inflation Rate

by Luke Landes

Forget what the government tells you about the inflation rate, known to economists as the CPI. The CPI may come into play when dealing with economical issues, but don’t expect your real expenses to increase at a rate nearly as low as the rate quoted by officials. First of all, the CPI doesn’t include food ... Continue reading this article…

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Compact Fluorescent to Become Mainstream

by Luke Landes

Congress will likely pass a bill this week that will have a positive effect on global warming. The bill requires requires light bulb manufacturers to create products that consume 25 percent to 30 percent less energy than the typical incandescent bulbs on the market today by 2012 to 2014. The goal doesn’t end there; by 2020, light ... Continue reading this article…

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What’s in the Candidates’ Wallets?

by Luke Landes

Money Magazine has an eye-opening look inside the personal financial reports of the leading presidential candidates, including asset allocations and income sources. The article points out anything out of the ordinary with the candidates’ holdings and even offers money management suggestions from a financial adviser. Hillary Clinton. Net worth: $34.9 million. 2006 income: $12.1 million. ... Continue reading this article…

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