Retiree Finances – Some Pundits Disagree on the Facts, but Agree on Whom to Blame

We are being subjected to polar extremes on the subject of the financial well-being of retirees.  Kevin Drum in Mother Jones claims we are looking at a world where “relatively speaking, retirees are doing quite a bit better than current workers. In fact, their incomes are growing more strongly than pretty much any other age […]

Pension Time Bombs

Detroit’s bankruptcy is an implosion of overpromises, underfunding, national recession and local depression.  Detroit’s residents and creditors are feeling real pain from their bankruptcy.  It’s an unusual case because pension obligations are being forcibly reduced, sending waves of alarm to unionized workers across the US. For decades, local politicians agreed to wage and benefit deals […]

Washington’s Hand Not Welcomed in Our Pockets

In the past month, three studies shed light on consumer debt and retirement prospects.  The New York Federal Reserve Bank cheerily reported that consumer debt levels dropped by $110 billion to $11.23 trillion in the first quarter of 2013, well below the peak of $12.68 trillion in the third quarter of 2008.  As well, loan […]

Scary Future for Some States – Are they Too Big to Fail?

Some of our cities and states may be headed for bankruptcy and sentiment for bailing them out will be strong.  Some states may suffer from an excess of employers that fail, move elsewhere or downsize.  Nevada, Rhode Island, California, North Carolina, and Illinois had November 2012 unemployment rates of 10.8%, 10.4%, 9.8%, 9.1% and 8.7%, […]

The Fiscal Cliff—Part 1

The fiscal cliff we approach is a rotting pile of Washington’s unfinished business.  When we slip over that cliff, taxes due will escalate because: the “Bush Tax Cuts” (reauthorized by President Obama) will expire; the temporary payroll tax cuts will expire; and protections from the Alternate Minimum Tax will expire.  As we fall from the […]

Lighting the Euro Zone’s Christmas Fuse

For those who value apolitical conversation starters for seasonal parties, we offer a few notes on the Euro Zone “mess” which may go pyrotechnic within a few months.   The Substance:   Twenty-six European Union (EU) members voted to balance their nations’ fiscal budget within 0.5%, enforced by EU-imposed penalties.  Today, all but 3 countries […]

Increase Competition: A Gift Horse with Sound Teeth and Solid Performance

  The economy expanded at a 1.8% snail’s pace in the first quarter of 2011.  The large auto companies and banks are still repaying Federal stimulus loans.  In April, just half of small businesses report making capital investments, depressingly low for a group that is usually first to recover and hire.  Among consumers, many homeowners […]

Ready. Shoot. Aim: The New Debit-Swipe Fees

Payment cards work well for most consumers.  Consumers pay for merchandise or service, and from the payment, the merchant pays a little to the network and a little to the bank who issued the payment card (a so-called interchange fee, or swipe fee).  The average debit swipe fee paid to the bank is about 44 […]

Finance Expert Professor Andy Puckett Joins ACI

We are pleased to announced the addition of Professor Andy Puckett as a finance expert for the American Consumer Institute.  Dr. Puckett is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Finance at the University of Tennessee.  He joined the University of Tennessee faculty in 2009 from the University of Missouri, where he taught investments to both […]

ACI and CEI Co-host Financial Oversight Hill Briefing

On Tuesday, the American Consumer Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institue Co-hosted a Hill Briefing on recent activity on Financial oversight.  With the new administration and the changing economic environment, an expert panel discussed why the case for a federal systemic regulator was stronger than ever.