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Inflation relief checks by state live online update: summary news 24 November

Update:
From Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, an estimated 166.3 million people are expected to shop.

Headlines: Thursday 24 November 2022

- Full list of dates now available for California inflation relief payment

- White House confirms extension to the student loan moratorium 

- Gas prices continue to drop as Thanksgiving holiday approaches with millions set to travel

- 30-year fixed mortgage rates see biggest drop in almost 40 years

- FTX collapse continues to roil cryptocurrency markets, Bitcoin dipped to lowest point in two years.

- Class action lawsuit filed against FTX founder and numerous celebrity promoters, including Tom Brady 

- Mass resignations at Twitter, Elon Musk closes offices to workers​​​​​​​

- White House considers extending the student loan moratorium​​​​​​​

Browse our latest articles:

California inflation payment payment schedule

It is thought that close to 23 million Californians are eligible to receive a one-off payments known as the California Middle Class Tax Refund. The payments, worth up to $1,050 per person, are designed to offset the rapid rate of inflation experienced throughout 2022. 

The distribution process began weeks ago but is expected to continue into the new year. The scale of the initiative is so far that state officials are sending out the support in a series of payments. 

ICYMI: Biden extends student loan moratorium

President Biden was under pressure ahead of the 2022 midterms to build support amongst potential Democrat-leaning voters at a time when inflaiton was causing chaos in the country. Rapid price rises were devaluing salaries and the most vulnerable were suffering the most. 

To ease the financial burden that student loan borrowers face, Biden approved a huge Student Loan Forgiveness package worth up to $20,000 per borrower. That program has been held up with legal challenges but the White House has acted to extend the student loan moratorium through June 2023, giving borrowers some extra breathing space. 

Stores opening hours on Black Friday: Walmart, Target, Gamestop, Best Buy and more

US NEWS

Stores opening hours on Black Friday: Walmart, Target, Gamestop, Best Buy and more

Inflation remains a real issue for consumer in the United States, and many will be hoping to take advantage of the Black Friday deals to ease the burden of Christmas shopping. We take a look at the opening hours for some of the most popular destinations on Black Friday...

Student Loan Forgiveness update from the White House

President Biden's decision to authorise widespread student debt relief came when Americans were suffering through a period of sustained high inflation that was hurting consumers' buying power. The inflationary situation has improved slightly but the President is struggling to enact his Student Loan Forgiveness program due to a number of legal challenges. 

Here's what White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had to say...

Watch out for Californian inflation relief scams

If you still haven't received your Middle Class Tax Refund payment from the state of California, that is likely because you will be receiving the support in the form of a pre-paid debit card. The physical cards are being sent out at the moment, but California officials have warned members of the public to be on the lookout for fraudulent cards. 

Here's what you need to look out for...

What is the average salary in California? Household income by city and county

US NEWS

What is the average salary in California? Household income by city and county

Millions of California residents stand to receive a hefty tax rebate form the state before the end of the year, known as the California Middle Class Tax Refund. The state has one of the highest average salaries in the country but the cost of living, particularly in the Bay Area, is very high. 

Data from the Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey Five-Year Estimates shows that California has numerous cities where the mean household income is in excess of $250,000.

We take a look at the full figures...

More than 55m Thanksgiving travels

For the past two years holiday season travel has been severely restricted and many Americans have been forced to stay at home due to the pandemic. This year people are free to gather with friends and family once again, but high gasoline prices threatened to disrupt that plan. 

In recent months the average price of gasoline has dropped considerably from it's all-time high over the summer. Inflation remains a major problem but recent progress has eased the economic pressure on working Americans and brought about a huge number of Thanksgiving trips, estimated to be around 55 million people. 

Biden extends student loan moratorium: What does this mean for my Student Loan Forgiveness application?

US NEWS

Biden extends student loan moratorium: What does this mean for my Student Loan Forgiveness application?

At the start of the pandemic, to offer some respite during a period of extreme economic insecurity, former President Trump imposed a pause on student loan debts. This meant that borrowers were temporarily freed from the requirement to make repayments and also that interest stopped accruing on the outstanding balance.

The moratorium had be scheduled to come to an end on 31 December, but the White House announced this week that it was pushing back the deadline to “no later than June 30, 2023″. Repayments will not have to resume for 60 days after the moratorium is lifted.

Here's everything you need to know...

A stressful Thanksgiving to be had?

Though people will be trying their best to enjoy Thanksgiving, it is no secret that challenging inflationary conditions means it could put many people under pressure.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), a farm industry insurer, has been measuring the cost of a Thanksgiving meal since 1986. It includes the price of 12 ingredients of your average Thanksgiving dinner.

According to their calculations, the combined cost of the ingredients has risen in one year from an average of $53.31 to $64.05, factoring in enough food for 10 people. This represents a 20% increase in addition to the 14% increase from 2021.

A Thanksgiving gift?

Continuing legal problems for President Joe Biden’s student debt cancellation programme has forced his government to use other methods to assist students while the hold continues. One of these ideas is another extension to the payment moratorium beyond the end of this year despite this being previously ruled out.

Student loan borrowers that have already applied for forgiveness of their debt under the Biden administration’s programme are in limbo after a Texas federal judge declared it illegal. The ruling was the second such since the Department of Education launched its online portal for borrowers to submit an application.

Are banks open on Black Friday 2022? Opening and closing times

US NEWS

Are banks open on Black Friday 2022? Opening and closing times

Black Friday is now considered an integral part of Thanksgiving celebrations for millions of people; marking the start of the build-up to Christmas and a shopping bonanza of cut-price deals and tasty offers. However,  Black Friday is not a federal holiday.

As such, businesses do not give employees the day off as standard and federally-organised services, such as schools, the US Postal Service and public parks will all follow normal operating hours. Banks will be open as normal on Black Friday, though the vast majority will be closed the day before for Thanksgiving.

Stores opening hours on 2022 Thanksgiving: Walmart, Costco, Target...

US NEWS

Stores opening hours on 2022 Thanksgiving: Walmart, Costco, Target...

A number of stores across the US have changed their work policy for Thanksgiving in recent years. Businesses will be focusing more on their online sales which soared by over 30 percent during the covid-19 pandemic, and are expected to continue to rise.

Shoppers shouldn’t get their hopes too high of scoring spectacular deals of old, with inflation having pushed pre-discount prices higher. Additionally, some sought after items may be hard to find, with supply chains continuing to be disrupted due to pandemic and war related problems.

So, here is a list of stores that will and won’t be open on Thanksgiving and opening hours on Black Friday, but as times may vary by location check first before you head out the door.

A substantial majority of participants judged that a slowing in the pace of increase would likely soon be appropriate.The uncertain lags and magnitudes associated with the effects of monetary policy actions on economic activity and inflation were among the reasons cited regarding why such an assessment was important.

Federal Reserve, Minutes

Interest rate hikes to slow

Reflecting statements that multiple officials have made over the past several weeks, a Fed meeting summary pointed to smaller rate hikes coming. It is expected the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee to drop to a 0.5 percentage point increase in December.

This year there has been four straight 0.75 percentage point hikes. While 0.5 point increase is smaller relatively, it is still a large interest rate increase in comparison to the last 22 years.

What are some Black Friday dangers?

British consumer protection site Which? conducted their yearly analysis of Black Friday sales. They found 98% of products on sale on Black Friday 2021 were cheaper or at least the same price at other times of the year.

Which? looked at 214 different deals from last year’s Black Friday sales at seven major UK retailers. They looked at prices six months before and after Black Friday, which was 26 November last year.

86% of the products were cheapest in the six months before Black Friday as well as not one of the products being at their cheapest on Black Friday itself.

Which? named Amazon and Very as “the worst retailers overall for dubious discounts”. Considering Amazon was one of the companies at the forefront of Black Friday’s beginnings this is certainly a company to watch out for.

Black Friday tips: Things you should NOT do when shopping

US NEWS

Black Friday tips: Things you should NOT do when shopping

Black Friday is nearly upon us and the now-infamous shopping day has encouraged consumers to turn feral in recent years. Videos of people flooding into shops and snaffling as much as they can epitomised the early days of the unofficial holiday.

In the context of people struggling to pay for things due to high inflation, any deal may look enticing. However, companies are more than aware of the lure of Black Friday and it has been proven that deals on offer are often no better compared to other times of the year.

Tom Brady, Trevor Lawrence among players sued for FTX crypto collapse

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Tom Brady, Trevor Lawrence among players sued for FTX crypto collapse

Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX’s founder who resigned as CEO last week, is dealing with enormous legal headaches.

On Wednesday, an FTX investor sued Bankman-Fried as well as several celebrity endorsers of his bankrupt crypto company, including Tom Brady, ex-wife Gisele Bundchen and Steph Curry. “The deceptive FTX platform maintained by the FTX entities was truly a house of cards,” the proposed lawsuit states.

FTX victims may never get their assets returned

The fallout from the collapse of cryptocurrency trading exchange FTX has continued today, with lawyers warning that customers who lost assets as a result of the failing may not be able to get them back. In early November FTX filed for bankruptcy after panic set in and investors sought to withdraw their assets, leaving the company owing $8 billion.

I'm completely confident my plan is legal... But right now it's on hold because of these lawsuits. We're not going to back down though on our fight to give families breathing room.

But it isn't fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit.

Joe Biden, POTUS

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