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Personal finance | News summary 8 March

The latest news an information on the rising costs of gasoline, with updates on Social Security payments and information on tax season 2022.

Difficulty paying expenses rises without Child Tax Credit payments

The IRS began sending eligible American households monthly installments of the 2021 Child Tax Credit in July. The following month, the number of households with children reporting difficuly paying monthly expenses decreased  but not childless households. 

The advance installments ran from July until December when the program expired without an extension by Congress. Over that time 30 percent of households with children reported diffculty meeting expenses. However, in late January and early February 2022 the rate reporting diffculty rose to 35 percent in the abscence of the payments according to the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

US adds 678,000 nonfarm payrolls in February

The US continued to add new jobs in February but still remains 2.1 million short of the pre-pandemic peak at over 152 million this time last year.


When was the last time the Russian economy crashed and what were the consequences?

Russia is facing near unprecedented levels of economic isolation after President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February. Led by the US, many companies such as Paypal, Shell, and McDonald's, have ceased operating in Russia, making it difficult for ordinary people to purchase things and driving the price of the Russian currency, the Rouble, to record lows. Coupled with economic sanctions, the economy is in real trouble.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian economy has rarely been stable.

Read more

We are on strike for safe and stable schools, we’re on strike for systemic change, we’re on strike for our students, the future of our city and the future of Minneapolis public schools.

Greta Cunningham, President of the teachers’ chapter of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers

Teachers strike in Minneapolis, better wages among demands

Minneapolis school teachers took to the streets in the freezing weather on Tuesday when Union members could not reach an agreement with the school district. The teachers are calling for higher wages, smaller class sizes and more mental health support for students coping with two years of the coronavirus pandemic.

A twin strike by teachers in St Paul was averted on Tuesday when the district and union reached a tentative deal on similar demands.

A strong, capitalist economy requires competition

Treasury report finds idea of a US competitive labor market a myth

The US Treasury Department released its report “The State of Labor Market Competition in the U.S. Economy,” on Monday. President Biden had ordered his administration last summer to look into and find ways to address excessive concentration in the market for work.

The report found that "the American labor market falls far from the perfect competition that economists had long assumed." This is a result of employer concentration and anti-competitive labor practices. It's estimated that lack of competition in the job market costs workers roughly 20 percent what they might otherwise make.


How can I apply for Supplemental Security Income?

SSI is designed to provide vital financial support for elderly, blind or disabled Americans with insufficient income.

Here's how to claim the payments

Candidate for AZ governor vows to bring in state-level CTC

Katie Hobbs, who is running to become the governor of Arizona in November's elections, has pledged to bring in a new child tax credit in the state, to replace the expanded federal CTC that expired at the end of December.

"The expanded Child Tax Credit was a tax cut that benefited 800K hard-working families across our state," Hobbs tweeted on Monday.


What products does the USA import from Russia and Ukraine?

As war wages in Eastern Europe, the disruption caused and sanctions imposed will have consequences for nations around the world who import goods from the region.

AS USA's Will Gittins has the full story

Dem. lawmaker calls for a permanent Child Tax Credit expansion

On the one year anniversayr of the passage of President Biden's American Rescue Plan, Rep. Ritchie Torres has called on Congress to reinstate one of the most ambitious and influential elements of the package; the Child Tax Credit expansion. Numerous studies have shows than the bosoted programme, which ran for just six months in 2021, was responsible for a significant drop in the number of children living in poverty in the United States. 

Congress failed to agree to an extension to the monthly payments before Christmas, but there are continued calls for it to be included in upcoming legislation. 


How much were the first, second and third stimulus checks and when were they sent out?

The IRS, the tax agency in charge of distributing many of the relief programmes on offer during the pandemic, has published out its annual report highlighting the efforts of its employees across the previous year. One of the accomplishments touted by the agency has been successfully delivering “more than $1.5 trillion to people across the nation through Economic Impact Payments, tax refunds and advance Child Tax Credit payments.”

We take a look at the three Economic Impact Payments, better known as stimulus checks, that have gone out to date...

Read more

What to do if you spot a Social Security scam

Unfortunately, recipients of financial relief from the federal government are often the target of scams looking to part you from your entitled money. Social Security recipients have reported being targeted by thieves who claim to be a representative from the Social Security Administration. If you think you've received one of these messages, here's what to do...

How does the Child Tax Credit affect tax returns?

Most eligible families will ave become accustomed to receiving the Child Tax Credit as a single end-of-year credit to apply to their tax bill, but the expansion offered in 2021 has changed things this filing season. The IRS sent out half of the entitlement in the form of six monthly payments, but that has reduced the amount left to claim now. 

Lawmakers call for boost to Social Security funding

The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees programmes designed to offer assistance to elderly or vulnerable Americans and is the biggest supplie of federal financial support in the country. However as the American population continues to age there is growing concern that the SSA will soon become unable to fulfill its financial commitments to recipients. 

To guard against this, Rep. Katie Porter has proposed a piece of legislation known as the Social Security 2100 Act. This would reshape the funding process and ensure that beneficiaries do not experience a drop in payments when the fund starts to run out of money. 

Wall Street ends down as Ukraine fears overtake economic progress in the US

On Monday Wall Street ended down as the war in Ukraine overshadowed an acceleration in US jobs growth last month that pointed to a strengthening economy. Financials lead the way with a 2% drop as investors worried about how the West's sanctions against Moscow may affect the international financial system.

Equities globally were weaker, with safe-haven assets in demand after Russian forces seized Europe's biggest nuclear power plant in what Washington called a reckless assault that risked catastrophe. With the war in Ukraine unlikely to come to a resolution in the near future, the markets appear braced for prolonged turmoil in Europe. 


Why is gas more expensive in California?

The American Automobile Association (AAA) has found that the average statewide price of a gallon of fuel in California has exceeded $5 for the fist time ever, reaching the height of $5.34 in recent days. Experts expect the price to rise to $5.50 and it is seeing prices much higher than the US average. Prices are increasing nationwide, but California is being affected particularly acutely.

Read more

The 'devastating impact' of the loss of the Child Tax Credit expansion

In this interview Sophie Collyer, research director of Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy, spoke to The New Yorker about the costs of cutting the Child Tax Credit and the impact it would have of many American families on low incomes.

"We found that 3.7 million more children are in poverty as a result of rolling back the child tax credit between December and January. One very interesting aspect of the CTC program is that it’s cash-based. So many social policies and social programs in the United States consist of in-kind transfers—housing subsidies, food stamps—and they’re infrequently cash."

"But with this you saw families receiving a cash payment, and cash is fungible. In one month, you might need it to fill in a food budget, but for the next month, it might be used to fix a car. Another month, it might help with child care. That flexibility is also something that comes out of the data, with families using it to meet needs that vary from month to month."

Where is the most expensive gasoline in the US?

It's no secret that the price of gasoline has been on the rise across the country, but the actual price can vary greatly between states. Here's the ten states with the highest average cost of a gallon of gas at the moment. 

California: $5.34

Hawaii: $4.69

Nevada: $4.59

Oregon: $4.51

Washington: $4.44

Alaska: $4.39

Illinois: $4.30

Connecticut: $4.28

New York: $4.26

Pennsylvania: $4.23

Women dominate healthcare and social assistance workforce

In honor of the Women’s History Month theme this year “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics has studied the accomplishments of women employed in the health care and social assistance industry. Last year they made up 77.6% of the more than 21 million workers in the industry, equating to around or 16.4 million people.

Welcome to AS USA!

Good morning and welcome to our dedicated financial news live feed for 8 March, bringing you all the latest on tax season, price rises and the affect that Russia's invasion could have on inflation. 


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