Get woke, go broke.

The SVB collapse marks the end of the Silicon Valley era: The Bay Area is no longer brimming with innovative startups and entrepreneurs.

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, the second largest in US history, is raising concerns about a “contagion” that could trigger a financial panic. As the 18th largest bank in the US, SVB’s bankruptcy may not prove an event on the scale of Lehman Brothers, but it may reflect something perhaps even more important: the decline of the Valley’s once vibrant entrepreneurial culture.

As a young reporter, I covered bank founder Roger Smith in 1983 when he came up with the idea of providing conventional financing to young, often venture-backed growth companies. In those days the big Wall Street financiers were largely clueless about technology, and the industry needed someone who understood their needs and ambitions. The now-retired Smith became a real player in the tech world, as well as in the Valley’s philanthropic scene.

Today’s Silicon Valley is not brimming as before with aggressive startups and the garage-based entrepreneurs who are the SVB’s bread and butter. Indeed, the magic that led firms and people to come to California is wearing off; Mike Malone, who has chronicled Silicon Valley over the past quarter-century, believes that this is because the Valley has lost its egalitarian ethos. The new masters of tech, he suggests, have shifted from “blue-collar kids to the children of privilege”. An intensely competitive industry, he adds, has become enamoured with the allure of “the sure thing” backed by massive capital. If there is a potential competitor they simply buy it. Innovation is therefore in short supply.

In this new oligarch-dominated Silicon Valley, there is less need for a unique bank like SVB because the entire eco-system that the bank depended on has diminished. It’s likely that the big financial institutions will now step in and pick off the strongest candidates in the start-up litter, generally those who can eventually be hived off to one of the giants.

The Valley is far from dead. It still retains an enormously deep field of technical talent and the professionals who service them. But its era of dominance is clearly ending as more companies expand or even move their headquarters elsewhere — something Hewlett Packard EnterpriseOracle and Tesla have already done.

This “tech exodus” has, however, been underway for years; according to research by Ken Murphy, 13,000 companies left California between 2009-2016 alone. The pandemic-induced push to move work online only appears to have hastened this shift. With two out of three tech workers willing to leave the Bay Area if they could work remotely, Big Tech could readily spread talent and wealth to other states.

The Valley may remain top dog but, as unique institutions like Silicon Valley Bank disappear, there are more potential alphas lurking elsewhere in the kennel.

If anyone has learned anything, it’s understanding that Cramer is a perfect reverse barometer

CNBC’s Jim Cramer eviscerated for touting Silicon Valley Bank weeks before disastrous collapse.

CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer is being shredded across social media after footage resurfaced of him urging viewers in February to invest in Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), which collapsed on Friday.

SVB had been the 16th largest bank in the United States and was connected to a number of Silicon Valley industries and startups. The closure of the bank was announced by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), making it the worst U.S. financial institution failure in nearly 15 years.

Upon the news of SVB’s collapse, a clip went viral of Cramer in February speaking positively about the bank in a list of “The Biggest Winners of 2023… So Far.”

“The ninth-best performer here today is SVB financial. Don’t yawn,” he told his viewers on Feb. 8. “This company is a merchant bank with a deposit base that Wall Street has been mistakenly concerned about!”

CNBC's Jim Cramer of "Mad Money" talking about Silicon Valley Bank.

CNBC’s Jim Cramer of “Mad Money” talking about Silicon Valley Bank.


Continue reading “”

BAILOUT MOTORS: GM Gutting Half Its U.S. Workforce

GM, the leading U.S. automaker by volume, will gut its U.S. workforce “voluntarily” according to a confidential internal memo from Chairman and CEO Mary Barra that leaked on Thursday.

“Accelerated attrition requires to be proactive regarding workforce planning,” Barra’s memo reads. “Therefore, today, we are announcing a voluntary program that offers the majority of our U.S. team an opportunity to leave GM and transition to what’s next with an attractive compensation and health care package.”

Putting a smiley face on the matter, Barra explained that her “Voluntary Separation Program, known as a VSP, presents an opportunity to explore a new industry, make a career change, further a personal business venture or decide you can retire earlier.”

The move is “designed to accelerate attrition in the U.S.”

What that means is, more than half of General Motors’ American workforce will have two weeks to decide whether to take the retirement package or… “Taking this step now will help avoid the potential for involuntary actions.”

From the sound of it — take the voluntary separation package before we separate you without one — employees would be wise to take the offer.

General Motors’ South Korea division will offer a similar VSP package, but workers in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and China will not, according to the memo. Whether Barra plans similarly drastic job cuts in those countries is unclear.

The company currently employs about 167,000 people in the US, spread across its four surviving divisions — Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC — and corporate HQ.

General Motors used to sell half of all cars in the U.S. market. Now it sells one in six. How many cars it’ll be able to produce with fewer than half of today’s headcount remains unclear, and is not a topic Marra addressed in today’s memo.

How the mighty have fallen.

Here’s Barra’s memo in its entirety.

GM Jobs Cuts

US home prices just did something they haven’t done since 2012.

US home prices in February posted their first year-over-year decline in more than a decade as surging mortgage rates put the squeeze on the market.

The average US home sold for $350,246 for the four weeks ending on Feb. 26, according to an analysis by real estate firm Redfin this week. The sale price plunged by 0.6% compared to the same month one year ago — the first annual decline since February 2012.

“Prices falling from a year ago is a milestone because it hasn’t happened since the housing market was recovering from the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis,” Redfin deputy chief economist Taylor Marr said in a statement.

“Home prices skyrocketed so much over the last few years that they were likely to come down once rates rose from historic lows,” Marr added.

Mortgage rates have jumped again in recent weeks as worse-than-expected inflation reports sparked fear that the Federal Reserve will continue hiking interest rates. The average 30-year mortgage rate rose steadily throughout the month of February and hit a whopping 7.1% as of this week.

Higher rates have exacerbated an affordability crunch and pushed many homebuyers to the sidelines. At the same time, would-be sellers are forced to either slash their asking prices or delay their plans entirely.

“Mortgage rates rising to the 7% range was the straw that broke the camel’s back, dampening homebuying demand and leading to sellers asking less for their home,” Marr added.

The largest price declines were in “pandemic homebuying hotspots,” the firm said.

Austin, Texas, posted the largest year-over-year decline of 11%.

Despite the dropping prices, first-time homebuyers are unlikely to see much relief, according to Marr.

“That’s because so few homeowners are listing their homes for sale. Limited inventory and continued interest in turnkey homes in desirable neighborhoods will keep prices somewhat propped up — and high rates will continue to be a hit on affordability.”

The price declines are most severe in so-called “pandemic boomtowns.”
While most experts agree that the US housing market is in the midst of a correction, the extent of the projected price slump is a matter of debate.

In a report earlier this week, researchers at the Dallas Fed warned that home prices could plummet by nearly 20% in the event of a severe contraction in US housing.

Last year, Redfin predicted that US home prices would fall by 4% in 2023 as mortgage rates cooled the market.

Another firm, Pantheon Macroeconomics, has projected a much sharper decline of up to 20%.

Consumers could be in a ‘world of hurt’ if Biden doesn’t act soon, former Walmart CEO warns.

Strategic Wealth Partners CEO and President Mark Tepper claims President Biden is too busy "popping champagne bottles" despite the economy "softening" on "Maria Bartiromo's Wallstreet."
Former Walmart U.S. CEO Bill Simon joined “Fox & Friends Weekend” to discuss the nationwide spike in layoffs that have now extended beyond the Big Tech industry.

Mass layoffs are plaguing more than just the Big Tech industry.

On Sunday, former Walmart CEO Bill Simon joined “Fox & Friends Weekend” to warn Americans of the detrimental impact that corporate layoffs could have on the U.S.’s feeble economy.

“It’s crazy right now. We’re stuck in this loop of wage inflation, product inflation and cost inflation. And it’s just that cycle keeps going. And I think, unfortunately, an inevitable byproduct of some of the Fed’s moves and as the necessary medicine we have to take to kind of cool things down and get the inflation back under control on some of these layoffs that are coming,” Simon told co-host Will Cain.

Although the labor market remains healthy and one of the few bright spots in the economy, there are signs that it is beginning to soften. In addition to a number of high-profile tech layoffs over the past month, the economy added 223,000 jobs in December, the smallest gain in two years.

Continue reading “”

Existing Home Sales Tumbled in December for 11th Straight Month, Falling to Lowest Level Since 2010

U.S. existing home sales slowed for the 11th consecutive month in December as higher mortgage rates, surging inflation and steep home prices sapped consumer demand from the housing market.

Sales of previously owned homes tumbled 1.5% in December from the prior month to an annual rate of 4.02 million units, according to new data released Friday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). On an annual basis, existing home sales are down 34% when compared with December 2021.

It is the slowest pace since November 2010, when the U.S. was still in the throes of the housing crisis triggered by subprime mortgage defaults.

“December was another difficult month for buyers, who continue to face limited inventory and high mortgage rates,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “However, expect sales to pick up again soon since mortgage rates have markedly declined after peaking late last year.”

There were about 970,000 homes for sale at the end of December, according to the report, a decline of 13.4% from November but up about 10.2% from one year ago. Homes sold on average in just 26 days, up from 24 days in November and 19 days one year ago. Before the pandemic, homes typically sat on the market for about a month before being sold.

At the current pace of sales, it would take roughly 2.9 months to exhaust the inventory of existing homes. Experts view a pace of six to seven months as a healthy level.

The interest rate-sensitive housing market has borne the brunt of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive campaign to tighten policy and slow the economy.

Housing market
At the current pace of sales, it would take roughly 2.9 months to exhaust the inventory of existing homes. Experts view a pace of six to seven months as a healthy level.

Policymakers already lifted the benchmark federal funds rate seven consecutive times in 2022 and have indicated they plan to continue raising rates higher this year as they try to crush inflation that is still running abnormally high.

Still, mortgage rates are continuing to fall from a peak of 7.08% notched in November. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 6.15% this week, according to data from mortgage lender Freddie Mac. However, that remains significantly higher than just one year ago, when rates hovered around 3.56%.

However, even with higher interest rates putting homeownership out of reach for millions of Americans, prices are still steeper than just one year ago. The median price of an existing home sold in December was $372,700, a 2% increase from the same time a year ago. This marks the 130th consecutive month of year-over-year home price increases, the longest-running streak on record.

Prices, however, have moderated slightly after peaking at a high of $413,800 in June.

“The housing market is reeling from years of under-building, economic uncertainty and high interest rates,” said Jeffrey Roach, the chief economist at LPL Financial, adding: “Given the confluence of these factors, housing affordability is the lowest since the mid-1980s.”

Missouri Bill Would Take Steps Toward Treating Gold and Silver as Money

A bill introduced in the Missouri Senate for the 2023 legislative session would take important steps toward treating gold and silver as money instead of as commodities and would set the stage for currency competition in the Show-Me State.

Sen. William Eigel (R) filed SB100 last month. The legislation would take several steps to encourage the use of gold and silver as money in Missouri, including making it legal tender, eliminating the state capital gains tax on gold and silver, and establishing a state bullion depository.

Legal Tender and Tax Reforms

Under the proposed law, gold and silver would be accepted as legal tender and would be receivable in payment of all public and private debts contracted for in the state of Missouri. Practically speaking, this would allow Missourians to use gold or silver coins as money rather than just as mere investment vehicles. In effect, it would put gold and silver on the same footing as Federal Reserve notes.

Missouri could become the fourth state to recognize gold and silver as legal tender. Utah led the way, reestablishing constitutional money in 2011. Wyoming and Oklahoma have since joined.

The effect has been most dramatic in Utah where United Precious Metals Association (UMPA) was established after the passage of the Utah Specie Legal Tender Act and the elimination of all taxes on gold and silver. UPMA offers accounts denominated in US-minted gold and silver dollars. The company was also instrumental in the development of the “Utah Goldback,” described as “the first local, voluntary currency to be made of a spendable, beautiful, physical gold.”

SB100 would also exempt the sale of gold and silver bullion from the state’s capital gains tax. Missouri is already one of 41 states that do not levy sales tax on gold and silver bullion. Exempting the sale of bullion from capital gains taxes takes another step toward treating gold and silver as money instead of commodities. Taxes on precious in metal bullion disincentivize investment and erect barriers to using gold and silver as money by raising transaction costs.

Continue reading “”

Retail sales drop sharply at start of key holiday shopping season

Americans cut back sharply on retail spending last month as the holiday shopping season began with high prices and rising interest rates forcing families, particularly lower income households, to make harder decisions about what they buy.

Retail sales fell 0.6% from October to November after a sharp 1.3% rise the previous month, the government said Thursday. Sales fell at furniture, electronics, and home and garden stores.

Americans’ spending has been resilient ever since inflation first spiked almost 18 months ago, but the capacity of Americans to continue spending in a period of high inflation may be beginning to ebb. Inflation has retreated from the four-decade high it reached this summer but remains elevated, enough to erode the spending power of Americans. Prices rose 7.1% in November from a year ago.

“The weakness in sales … suggests that higher borrowing costs, slower employment growth and an unusually low saving rate are now catching up with consumers,” said Andrew Hunter, senior US economist at Capital Economics.

Consumer spending is still likely to grow at a solid pace in the final three months of the year, Hunter said, but he expects a sharp drop early next year.

Monthly sales data can be volatile and one negative report is often followed by a rebound, other economists said.

Sales plunged 2.3% at auto dealers, and slipped 0.6% at sporting goods stores and 0.1% at general merchandise stores, a category that includes large chains such as Walmart and Target. Sales at online and catalog stores fell 0.9%.

The steep 2.5% decline in sales at home and garden stores likely reflects the sharp decline in home sales due to rapid interest rate hikes in the US, which have put homes increasingly out of reach for more Americans.

Solid hiring, rising pay, and enhanced savings from government financial support during the pandemic have enabled most Americans to keep up with rising prices. Yet many are now digging into their savings to maintain the same level of spending. The saving rate declined to its second-lowest level on record in October.

Americans are also putting more purchases on their credit cards. Total credit card debt jumped 15% in the July-September quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the biggest jump in 20 years.

Shopping at a Walmart in New Jersey, Eric Cruz, said he planned to cut his holiday shopping budget by roughly 20% this year, to about $800. The 33-year-old Jersey City entrepreneur said rising costs for utilities and rent now take a bigger chunk of his income. He is trying to offset rising costs by seeking out credit cards with greater rewards, like 5% back on spending.

“I am looking for extra incentives and credit cards allow me to do that,” he said.

Symptoms of economic stress are beginning to appear, retailers have noted.

Craft supplies chain Jo-Ann Stores this week announced a pause in quarterly dividends for investors after comparable store sales fell 8% during its most recent quarter, which ended in October.

I really like how the goobermint can come up with an “8.7%” inflation rate for COLAs when my grocery bill has gone up by 30+% and gas by 100%

The economy seems to be slipping into a Carterian perfect economic storm: prices and interest rates jumping in unison, with lingering structural supply issues leaving shelves half-stocked.

The Bernank Can No Longer Hibernate

The animated ursine explainers were right. And a billionaire-backed business-first broadsheet confirms it.

Christmas has come early for Ron Paulers in the most libertarian way: their past contrarian construals are vindicated by everyone suffering. Surely Justin Amash has a path to the presidency in 2024 now!

This Thanksgiving, more budgets were busted than the front button on stretch-fit Dockers. If you didn’t notice because mommy and daddy footed the 20% higher turkey tab this year, your attention may be arrested by the $70 sum on new PS5 games. That is, inflation has not abated despite the summer passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which, in a twist of marketing nominative nondeterminism, had zilch to do with quelling swelling prices.

The consumer price index punched in at 6.3% in October, when compared to last year. While that percentage bump is less than the nearly 10% YTD rate in June, the cost jumps are still historically high. And if you’ll excuse me… *unrolls a sheet of tinfoil, folds it firmly into the shape of a conical hat, turns the cooktop burner on to singe the tip so it generates extra-hot takes, places tightly on head.* Everyone knows (if you disagree, you’re not everyone, and therefore an outcast—the perfect phrasal conspiratorial cordon!) that the CPI is deliberately calculated to underplay the actual inflation rate. Volatile commodities are excluded to provide a more stable picture. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, whose abacus-brained technocrats fashion the CPI, use something called the “hedonic quality adjustment” to anticipate vittle variation—which really just sounds like a john settling for a veteran flesh house servicer than a fresher offering based upon his thin wallet.

The point is, the CPI is calculated in a closed room, under the inscrutable cover of green eyeshades. So that when the price of the 2022 Lego Guardians of the Galaxy Advent calendar you want to get for yourself your kids jumps up by $15 compared to similar block-sets, the headline rate may seem lower than what your lying eyes see. And we aren’t even touching on what’s known colloquially as “hidden inflation.” (If you need evidence of that concept, just look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter cup sizes over last Halloween versus the discs of gooey peanut butter we were treated as kids.)

Continue reading “”

It’s not from dinosaurs

Don’t worry, we’ll never run out of oil
When will we run out of oil? 50 years? 100? As it turns out, we may never actually run out of this incredibly useful substance.

  • The discovery and exploitation of crude oil have literally transformed the world beyond all recognition.
  • This was such a great discovery, that our modern world is literally fuelled by it.
  • If the crude oil supply was to suddenly dry up, could we survive?

Crude oil is one of the most important resources we have ever discovered. Oil and the many products made from it have literally and figuratively transformed the world beyond all recognition. However, as we are constantly reminded, crude oil is not in infinite supply. After all, it took millions of years to “brew”.Estimates vary, but if our current consumption continues apace, we may well see a time in the near future when it is completely exhausted. But, are such claims true? Have we reached what is commonly referred to as “peak oil?”.

Or, perhaps, just perhaps, we are looking at the problem from the wrong angle?

But, before we get into the weeds about the future of oil, let’s spend a little time discussing the nature of a “finite” resource. 

Are natural resources actually finite?

Humans like to build stuff. We’ve been doing it for as long as our species has existed, and will continue to do so into the distant future. 

Making stuff needs materials, and depending on what we are making, and how much of it, this can consume large amounts of that raw resource(s). For any product you can think of, somewhere in its supply chain raw materials have been extracted at some point and “used up” in the final product.

As more and more stuff is made over time, it would seem logical that there must be a point when the supply of any material is used up? But is this actually true?

How you think about this might, ultimately, all come down to whether you are a pessimist or an optimist at heart. The former will adamantly believe that because there is only a limited amount of stuff humans could ever get our hands-on (like the entire mass of the Earth, say), then resources must, by definition, be limited. This is especially true if our consumption of a material exceeds the rate of its replenishment. It is this fact that basically determines if a resource is considered “renewable” or not

Continue reading “”

My thoughts exactly. It’s another version of “Baffle them with BS

If the end goal is to chill the lawful commerce of arms, then the more purchases flagged as “suspicious” the better, and despite Gillibrand’s claims that law-abiding citizens have nothing to worry about when it comes to these reporting standards, the skepticism and doubt on the part of many gun owners is well-founded.

Gillibrand demands more action from Biden administration on merchant credit codes for gun stores

The establishment of a new merchant category code for firearm retailers poses all kinds of challenges for both retailers and credit card companies (not to mention privacy concerns for gun buyers). One of the biggest issues; the requirement that credit card companies and financial institutions report all “suspicious” transactions that could involve money laundering, human trafficking, terrorist financing, and other criminal activity to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

With the new merchant category code for firearm retailers, gun control activists and anti-gun politicians want to now expand that reporting requirement to the millions of transactions that take place at FFLs across the country every month. How exactly does a financial institution determine whether a particular transaction is suspicious, particularly when the new merchant credit code for gun stores doesn’t detail what exactly is purchased, only the dollar amount and the location? Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and the head of the anti-gun bank that helped to spearhead the effort to establish the new MCCs were awfully short on specifics when they held a news conference on the matter on Sunday, but the bottom line is that they believe the Biden administration could be doing much more to scrutinize retail sales at gun shops.

Continue reading “”

Fiduciary responsibility requires that return on investor’s $$ be given top priority over politically correct ‘woke’ BS

Florida Withdraws $2 Billion from BlackRock Over ESG Investing.

According to a press release, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced that the Florida Treasury would begin divesting $2 billion worth of assets currently under management by BlackRock. The State Treasury will immediately have Florida’s custody bank freeze approximately $1.43 billion worth of long-term securities and remove BlackRock as the manager of about $600 million worth of short-term overnight investments. Asset managers invest these taxpayer funds as part of Florida’s Treasury Investment Pool. By the beginning of 2023, the State Treasury will divest all short- and long-term investments from BlackRock and relocate investment responsibilities to other fund management entities.

Patronis said, “As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, it’s my responsibility to get the best returns possible for taxpayers. The more effective we are in investing dollars to generate a return, the more effective we’ll be in funding priorities like schools, hospitals, and roads. As major banking institutions and economists predict a recession in the coming year, and as the Fed increases interest rates to combat the inflation crisis, I need partners within the financial services industry who are as committed to the bottom line as we are — and I don’t trust BlackRock’s ability to deliver. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink is on a campaign to change the world. In an open letter to CEOs, he’s championed ‘stakeholder capitalism’ and believes that ‘capitalism has the power to shape society.’ To meet this end, the asset management company has leaned heavily into Environmental, Social, and Governance standards – known as ESG – to help police who should, and who should not gain access to capital.”

At least one analyst downgraded BlackRock earlier this year because of the political risk associated with ESG investing. Following the third quarter release, UBS analyst Brennan Hawken downgraded the company’s stock from Buy to Neutral and dropped the target price to $585 from $700. Hawken’s note on the change cited growing pushback on BlackRock’s environment, social, and governance (ESG) investment strategy.

Continue reading “”

California Mulls Ban On All Gas And Diesel Truck Fleets

California’s Air Resources Board has laid out a plan to ban all diesel-powered trucks that would cause inflationary ripples throughout the entire economy.

The plan would mandate that all new trucks operating around busy railways and ports be zero emission vehicles by 2024 – while all diesel trucks would be phased out by 2035, and eventually, banishing every truck and bus fleet from California roads by 2045, where feasible, according to SFGATE.

The proposed Advance Clean Fleets regulation first targets the busiest trucking areas in the state — around warehouses, sea ports and railways. The board says the pollution in these areas affects communities disproportionately.

“Many California neighborhoods, especially Black and Brown, low-income and vulnerable communities, live, work, play and attend schools adjacent to the ports, railyards, distribution centers, and freight corridors and experience the heaviest truck traffic,” wrote the board, which asserts that this type of pollution creates health risks for those communities.

Representatives from the trucking and construction industries were livid at a recent hearing on the issue – where over 150 public commenters voiced their opinions ranging from the state’s woefully inadequate grid, to a general lack of charging capacity to handle a massive shift to zero-emission vehicles so quickly (whose electricity would in part be generated by coal).

“The infrastructure cannot be established in the timeframe given,” said American Trucking Association representative Mike Tunnell. “Fleets will have to deploy trucks that cannot do the same job as their current trucks.”

Another speaker, construction company CEO Jamie Angus, pointed to logistical issues involved with charging electric vehicles.

“This will do damage to us. We don’t really understand how to charge these vehicles,” he said, adding “Those pieces of equipment go home with those men every day, so they’ll need to be charged from home? How do you compensate that person for that?

On the other side of the fence, environmentalists – including the Sierra Club, argued in favor of an expedited timeline to rid California roads of internal combustion engines as quickly as possible.

Maybe they can also figure out how to solve the massive logistical and economic issues that would surely ensue, as well as what to do with all that lithium when the batteries eventually go bad?

Pain at the pump is back – AGAIN! Americans are warned to brace for highest Thanksgiving gas prices EVER, as millions take to the roads to visit loved ones while inflation remains stubbornly-high

Americans could be facing the highest gas prices ever for the Thanksgiving holiday travel season, as millions prepare to hit the road amid still sky high prices and inflation.

The national average price for a gallon of gas is projected to hit $3.68 next Thursday, November 24 as Americans prepare for the feast.

That number is 30 cents higher than the same time in 2021 and over 20 cents higher than the previous record of $3.44 per gallon in 2012.

However, it doesn’t appear to be stopping holiday travel, with some people making Thanksgiving 2022 the first time they’ve visited relatives since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

Approximately 20 percent more Americans have plans to travel for the holiday, according to industry analysts GasBuddy.

View gallery


While 62 percent of Americans have no plans to ride the roads for turkey day, only 21 percent say that the cause is high gas prices.

Continue reading “”

Household debt soars at fastest pace in 15 years as credit card use surges, Fed report says.

Households increased debt during the third quarter at the fastest pace in 15 years due to hefty increases in credit card usage and mortgage balances, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday.

Total debt jumped by $351 billion for the July-to-September period, the largest nominal quarterly increase since 2007, bringing the collective household IOU in the U.S. to a fresh record $16.5 trillion. That’s an increase of 2.2% from the previous quarter and 8.3% from a year ago.

The increase follows a $310 billion jump in the second quarter and represents a $1.27 trillion annual increase.

Debt has surged over the past year due to inflation running near its highest pace in more than 40 years and amid rising interest rates and strong consumer demand.

The biggest contributors to that debt load came from mortgage balances, which rose $1 trillion from a year ago to $11.7 trillion, and credit card debt, which climbed to $930 billion.

The credit card balance collectively rose more than 15% from the same period in 2021, the largest annual jump in more than 20 years, according to the New York Fed, which released the report. The increase “towers over the last eighteen years of data,” a group of Fed researchers said in a blog post on the central bank site.

Continue reading “”