If you live in the US, I hope you’re enjoying the long holiday weekend!
Okay, off we go …
Credits and Debits
Debit: Labor Day is finally here, but with a record 94 million Americans now out of the workforce, there isn’t much to celebrate this year. Again. Well … unless you like celebrating records: that happens to be a 38-year low.
Debit: By the way, 56,253,000 of all Americans out of the US labor force are women — that’s another dubious “employment” record.
Debit: The growing number of unemployed women becomes even more astounding when you look at the latest federal statistics. They show that 100% of all female employment gains in the US since 2007 have been taken by foreigners. I’ll wait while you go back and read that again.
Debit: Actually, I can see why foreigners are gobbling up all of the US jobs gains: This week Nebraska Beef agreed to pay a $200,000 fine after the Justice Department accused it of discrimination because the company had the unmitigated gall to require non-US citizens to show proof of immigration status for employment. No, really.
Credit: Is it just me, or has the US Department of Justice forgotten who it works for? Uh huh. That’s what I thought.
Credit: Despite all of that negative workplace news, the Bureau of Labor insists that the US unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since 2008 — just 5.1%. Right. So … I guess the Labor Day celebration is back on! Hey, who wants a hot dog?
Debit: Did you see this? The average tuition at a public four-year college is now $9139. Even worse, if tuition continues climbing at the present rate, the average four-year cost for Millennial parents will be $100,907. Yes, that’s just for tuition.
Debit: With that in mind I guess it’s a good thing that, since 2013, California has allowed illegal aliens in the state to access as much as $12,200 annually in taxpayer-funded financial aid for college tuition. Or not.
Debit: College tuition costs have risen more than 1120% since 1978 — and if you want to know who’s to blame, I’ll tell you: the federal government. It’s the proliferation of low-interest student loans that has allowed public and private universities to raise their tuitions to otherwise unaffordable levels.
Debit: Of course, the side effect of all that government “help” is that more people than ever are now dependent on those low-rate student loans, or some form of federal or state aid just to be able to afford higher education.
Debit: You can bet university administrators and staffers across the nation aren’t complaining. And why should they? After all, they’ve been the prime beneficiaries of all that tuition inflation.
Credit: It’s a similar story for government “help” Americans receive today with retirement (via Social Security) — and now healthcare (via Obamacare). Sadly, the end result is a dependent citizenry that has lost its ability to be self-reliant. Psst. You can’t be truly free if you’re dependent on others.
Credit: Americans’ growing appetite for government “help” suggests that they don’t realize that there’s always free cheese in a mousetrap.
Debit: In other news, the Dow ended Friday with another triple-digit drop and its second-worst week of 2015. For the week, the Dow lost 3.3% and the S&P 500 declined 3.4%. And I suspect this is still just the opening act.
Debit: Stocks aren’t the only asset class plagued by falling prices lately — according to financial analyst Dave Kranzler, “the housing market is toast” too. Or at least it will be. Soon.
Credit: Then again, you don’t have to tell that to real estate entrepreneur Jeff Greene. He just dropped the asking price on his 53,000 square-foot Beverly Hills mansion by $45 million. Now, I know what you’re thinking … but don’t get too excited — he still wants $149 million for the place.
By the Numbers
The summer movie season draws to a close this week. With that in mind, how many of the 10 biggest movies of 2005 (box office gross) have you seen?
1 Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith ($380 million)
2 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, the Wardrobe ($291 million)
3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ($290 million)
4 War of the Worlds ($234 million)
5 King Kong ($218 million)
6 Wedding Crashers ($209 million)
7 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ($206 million)
8 Batman Begins ($205 million)
9 Madagascar ($194 million)
10 Mr. & Mrs. Smith ($186 million)
Source: Box Office Mojo
The Question of the Week
Last Week’s Poll Results
Have you ever been a victim of identity theft?
- No (76%)
- Yes (22%)
- I’m not sure. (2%)
More than 500 Len Penzo dot Com readers responded to last week’s question and I’m happy to see that more than 3 out of every 4 have never had their identity stolen. One of the best ways to prevent identity theft is to freeze your credit. For obvious reasons, I did exactly that not long after starting this blog. If you’re interested, I encourage you to check out the article I wrote awhile back about the pros and cons of freezing your credit.
Insider Notes: Exponential Functions and the Illusion of Safety
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Other Useless News
Programming note: Unlike most blogs, I’m always open for the weekend here at Len Penzo dot Com. There’s a fresh new article waiting for you every Saturday afternoon. At least there should be. If not, somebody call 9-1-1.
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(The Best of) Letters, I Get Letters
Every week I feature the most interesting question or comment — assuming I get one, that is. And folks who are lucky enough to have the only question in the mailbag get their letter highlighted here whether it’s interesting or not! You can reach out to me at: Len@LenPenzo.com
After reading my article explaining why corner lots are for suckers, corner-lot owner Tim Sanders left a jaw-dropping insult-filled rebuttal, concluding with these words:
You are an idiot and I just wasted three minutes of my life.
No, Tim, you wasted four minutes of your life. I just deleted your comment.
I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.
Photo Credit: brendan-c