A crack in the nest egg: are Americans doing enough to save for retirement?
Before the current recession, soaring stock prices and housing values made many Americans feel well off, and thus many were lax in saving for retirement. The current financial market downturn has erased much of the previous gains, leaving many workers unprepared for retirement.
A new trend for U.S. household spending
Holiday sales are expected to be weak again this year even though the economy and financial markets are improving. Shoppers are especially reluctant to use credit cards for holiday purchases. According to the National Retail Federation's 2009 Consumer Intentions and Action Survey, only 28.3 percent of holiday shoppers will use credit cards; this is 10.6 percent lower than one year ago. Why are shoppers so hesitant to use their credit cards this year? Many factors are involved. Read the January 2010 Newsletter for the answers.
School vouchers: the right choice or wrong policy for improving our schools?
August is back-to-school time, but for many families that means a return to poor-performing schools. The perennial question is how to improve performance. The use of school vouchers is one proposed but highly debated solution. This article examines the history of school vouchers and the major arguments for and against them.
Is a college cap and gown a financial ball and chain?
The cost of a college education continues to rise.The Project on Student Debt estimates that a typical 2009 college graduate accumulated $24,000 in student loan debt. Is a college degree worth the cost? Read the August 2011 Newsletter for the latest data on college versus high school graduates' earnings and employment prospects.
Quantitative easing explained
"Quantitative easing" has been in the headlines a lot from 2009 to 2011. First there was QE and then QE2. What exactly is quantitative easing, who does it, and how does it affect the economy? This month's newsletter has the answers.
What is a recession?
The past year has seen much debate about whether the United States is officially in (or not in) a recession (it is). But just what is a recession? Who decides that fact and how? Or, in other words, what actually makes a recession a recession? Read the February 2009 Newsletter for all the details.
What do financial market indicators tell us?
To those unfamiliar with financial and economic lingo, the terms bandied about in the news can sometimes make no sense. The January 2012 Liber8 Newsletter, "What Do Financial Market Indicators Tell Us?" offers some help with explanations of common terms. The essay is accompanied by a table of terms, definitions, and the significance of each to the broader economy.
Globalization has been covered heavily in the news recently, with special focus on the rise of China in the global economy and the sense of more job insecurity in the United States.
State pension plans in peril: the need for reform
State and local government employees have long enjoyed the perk of a guaranteed pension in retirement, but that may no longer be the case ? because of the recent recession, state budgets are in trouble. Many states have under-funded their pension plans to pay current expenses, and many pension plans have also incurred huge investment losses due to the financial crisis. How can states remedy this problem? The September 2010 Newsletter, "State Pension Plans in Peril: The Need for Reform," offers possible solutions.
Executive compensation and market risks
Some U.S. taxpayers were angry and felt betrayed when financial company executives received large bonuses in the midst of the 2008-09 financial crisis. These executives headed some of the same firms whose risky practices contributed to the crisis?and then later received billions of dollars in government bailouts. Who makes the changes in executive compensation policies and regulations to avoid such risks in the future? Read the February 2010 Newsletter for answers and interesting insights.