Inflation relief checks by state live online, summary Saturday 25 November 2022
Headlines: Friday 25 November 2022
- Black Friday begins, are the deals actually any good?
- 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
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Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the two biggest shopping days of the year - but which one has the better deals?
California is by some distance the most populous state in the country with 38 million residents, comprising 12% of the United States’ total population. It is also one of the states with the highest costs of living and the highest typical incomes.
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.
In 2020 California had a median household income of $78,672, an increase on the figure of $75,235 recorded in 2019. The median amount is taken from the middle value in a list of all household incomes, ordered from smallest to largest.
Housing prices have been increasing since the covid-19 pandemic. The underlying reasons for the dramatic rise in the cost of buying a house nationwide are many. However, the raising of rates by the Federal Reserve to tackle high inflation has sent mortgage rates climbing as well.
Despite the biggest one-day drop since 1981, a 30-year fixed rate home loan is still double what it was at the start of the year. The higher interest payments coupled with overvalued homes have caused a slump in the sale of existing homes.
What is not known is how a building slowdown, evidenced in the added tweet below, will affect houses next year.
US housing sales in freefall
(Reuters) - Sales of new U.S. single-family homes unexpectedly jumped in October, shrugging off rising mortgage rates and house prices, which have drastically eroded affordability.
New home sales rebounded 7.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 632,000 units last month, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. September's sales pace was revised down to 588,000 units from the previously reported 603,000 units.
Black Friday has become a part of American retail culture over the course of decades as shoppers gear up for the holiday season by taking advantage of the post-Thanksgiving deals. But in recent years, with the rapid growth of online shopping, the annual retail bonanza has spawned a new, online equivalent: Cyber Monday.
While Black Friday remains the day when excited shoppers flock to stores, Cyber Monday takes place the following week and now considered the last chance to grab some online bargains before Christmas.
Thanksgiving and the economic outlook
Despite some of the positivies touted by POTUS here, there are a number of stastics that make worrying reading for everyone this holiday weekend:
Turkey prices up 24% in a year
Mashed potato up 20%
Cranberry sauce up 18%
Overall, the ingredients for a traditional Thanksgiving meal will cost shoppers 13.5% more this year compared to last, the market research firm IRI predicted earlier this month, using data from October.
Thanksgiving not a time of happiness for many
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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
The California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB) has sent payments for the Middle Class Tax Refund to over 17 million Californians. The inflation relief payments, which range from $200 to $1,050, are being sent as either direct deposit or debit card.
While those receiving the direct payment to help with the rising cost of living should have already seen the money deposited in their account, the last payments were scheduled to be issued 14 November, the mailing of debit cards follows a separate schedule. The agency responsible for disbursing state tax refunds has finally posted the complete payment schedule.
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.
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