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USA finance and payments news summary | 17 May 2022

As President Biden battles with the sky-high rate of inflation and continued gasoline price rises, we bring you the latest financial news from the US.

US Finance News: Live Updates

Headlines: 17 May 2022

- Inflation is the biggest issue facing the nation, public poll finds, as annualised rate reaches a 40-year high

- Average price of a gallon of gasoline rises to new record high of $4.523, while diesel reaches $5.573

Sports sponsors insulate themselves from the cryptocurrency collapse

UST and Luna cryptocurrencies lose their market value: what is causing the price to fall?

- Parents of infants subject to limits on baby formula after national shortages

- A look at the housing market: why supply is increasing as interest rates rise

Helpful information & links

- Can my wife get Social Security if I am disabled?

- Can you collect unemployment benefits and Social Security disability at the same time?

- How large could the 2023 Social Security COLA increase be?

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Despite inflation hitting a 40-year high in January, several items have actually gotten cheaper over the last year.

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Cryptocrash: are sports sponsorships in danger after cryptocurrencies lose value?

The crypto collapse has the potential to scare plans for sponsorship, though future regulation could offer the security needed to protect teams and fans.

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


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

AS USA takes a look back at the three federal stimulus checks that have been distributed to Americans over the past two years, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sent out in April 2020, January 2021 and March 2021, the checks - officially known as Economic Impact Payments - have totalled $3,200, plus additional credits for households with eligible dependents.

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Why does Elon Musk want to renegotiate the price of Twitter?


Why does Elon Musk want to renegotiate the price of Twitter?

Like some of the greatest transfer sagas in football history, the drawn out process of Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase continues to run into snags and problems, threatening to derail the project all together.

At a summit for the “All-In” podcast, Musk said he was considering lowering his offer for the platform. His initial offer of $44 billion was already about 10 percent larger than the share price of Twitter at the time.

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Could students have to start repaying loans from September?

US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona hinted that student loan relief may be ending and student loan payments will restart. “At some point, people are going to have to start paying what they can to afford to pay,” Cardona said on MSNBC in an interview that will air this week.

How this will go down in the electorate in an election year will be interesting to see.

Sen. Warren criticises Bezos for outburst

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has pointed the blame at the White House for the inflationary pressures that are pushing up prices across the board, claiming that President Biden's stimulus spending has overheated the US economy. However those claims have been met with a swift response from many who argue that Bezos is simply resistant to Biden's tax proposals which would require the super-rich and big businesses to contribute more to ease the cost-of-living crisis. 

It doesn’t require a huge leap to figure out why one of the wealthiest individuals on Earth opposes an economic agenda for the middle class that cuts some of the biggest costs families face, fights inflation for the long haul and adds to the historic deficit reduction the President is achieving by asking the richest taxpayers and corporations to pay their fair share."

White House , Spokesperson

“Administration tried their best to add another $3.5tn to federal spending. They failed, but if they had succeeded, inflation would be even higher than it is today, and inflation today is at a 40-year high.”

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO
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Can you collect unemployment benefits and social security disability at the same time?

In most of the United States it is possible to receive both unemployment benefits and Social Security disability support, but there are a number of eligibility restrictions which make it very difficult to claim them both in practice. This is also true for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and unemployment benefits.

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Experts warn that high gasoline prices could be here to stay

After months of increases there is little hope of a gasoline price drop in the near future, experts warn. A confluence of factors, from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to nationwide inflationary pressures, have forced the price of gas and diesel to record highs. 

As we approach the summer months there is real concern that, with more Americans expected to make long-distance vacation trips, the demand for motor fuels could rise even higher. This could send the price even higher, piling on the pain for motorists. 

Elon Musk blames stimulus spending for high inflation

The Umited States' post-pandemic economic recovery will likely be the main priority of President Biden's time in the White House, and he has had mixed results so far. He, like his predecessor, Donald Trump, authorised trillions in stimulus spending to ensure that the American economy could remain viable and people were not left to starve during the tight lockdown restrictions. 

However Tesla CEO Elon Musk has criticised the federal spending, claiming that the sudden influx of cash served to overheat the economy and spurred the high inflation currently seen. 

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Social Security benefits provide a vital form of support for roughly 70 million people every month. The most common type of benefits are the retirement support payments, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) also provides support for disabled Americans and their families. 

This includes payments for the recipient's spouse in some circumstances, although the SSA does impose fairly strict caps on the amount of money each household can claim. 

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LIVE: Elon Musk discusses the future of Bitcoin in Tesla live stream

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is currently outlining his thoughts on Bitcoin and Ethereum, and the future of cryptocurrency in general, in a live stream on YouTube. In recent days Musk appears to have cooled on his intention to buy Twitter, but he appears in the live stream alongside the social media site's founder, Jack Dorsey. 

"This starts with the Federal Reserve, which plays a primary role in fighting inflation in our country. I thank the Senate for confirming Dr. Lisa Cook to the Board of Governors last night, and urge the Senate to confirm my remaining nominees without delay. While I will never interfere with the Fed’s independence, I believe we have built a strong economy and a strong labor market, and I agree with what Chairman Powell said last week that the number one threat to that strength – is inflation. I am confident the Fed will do its job with that in mind."

President Biden, White House press release

Study points to inflation as number one concern of American people

The sky-high rate of inflation is causing major problems for people all across the United States and experts have warned that there is no end in sight in the short-term. As the price of gasoline once again reaches a new record high, a study from Pew Research has found that inflation is currently the biggest issue facing Americans, with 70% naming it as a major concern when polled. That includes 84% of Republicans. 

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Ben Bernanke speaks to future of cryptocurrency as prices tank

Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke sat down with CNBC to discuss the collapse in the crypto-currency market. One issue that the crypto industry has faced is identifying a long-term use case for their product. At one point, many thought that cryptos and digital wallets could be used for those who send remittances to families or friends in other countries. However, many of these recipients need cash, not value or money stored in a digital wallet.

The high number of competitors has led many to speculate as to which will make it through this crisis. At this point, no one knows, and represents a very similar situation to the dot com bubble in the early 2000s. He does not see that Bitcoin as the future of money and thinks that it is too unreliable to take the place of the currencies we use now. Another problem for the currency, for Bernanke, is the fact that one of the major places Bitcoin is used is on the dark web or as a mechanism to pay ransom.

Bernanke also spoke about what the Federal Reserve will have to do to bring down prices. By raising rates demand will slow, but he believes with current Chairmen Powell who thinks the economy is strong enough to withstand such decreases in demand. Bernanke does see that a stall or slowing in the economy could come this year, but does not currently believe that a recession is emminante.

Cryptocurrency price: why has Luna crashed so much?


Cryptocurrency price: why has Luna crashed so much?

After enjoying an extremely profitable 2020 and 2021, cryptocurrency investors have felt a harsh backlash this year as a number of widely-held coins have plummeted in value.

Last week we saw perhaps the most abrupt of all the falls when the value of Luna cryptocurrency fell from a combined $20 billion to close to zero in just a few days. At one point the coin was listed at $0.00 on Binance, the most widely-used cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Read more on the collapse.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that in 2021, forty-seven out of eighty-six sector tracked saw an increase in productivity.

Sectors that saw the greatest growth over 2020 were the railroad rolling stock industry (20.6 percent).

Within the mining sector specifically, four out of five industries saw increase in productivity, with coal mining seeing 18.3 percent bump.

The largest decreases were seen in the tabacco and beverage sector.


Gas prices inch closer to $6 a gallon in San Diego

After about a month of relief, gas prices in San Diego country hit $5.96 this week, with many drivers now calling on leaders to reduce prices. The prices in the country have risen the last thirteen days, with the current prices clocking in as the highest since 1 April.

In Los Angeles county the price is already over $6 a gallon and last week the govenor, Gavin Newsom, announced a proposal to send gas rebates to househodls across the state.


Jeff Bezos takes aim at President Biden

The White House on Monday fired back at criticism from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos over its economic policies. President Biden routinely singles out Amazon for not paying federal taxes in speeches calling for higher tax rates on corporations and the wealthiest Americans. 

Biden met labour leaders who were organising to form the first union in an Amazon warehouse earlier this month.

The founder/editor-in-chief at LeverNews, David Sirota, posted earlier about the seemingly insane contradiction taking place at the moment, commenting that it is "totally wild" how some people are pushing that the money coming out of circulation to combat inflation "only applies to cutting the child tax credit, not ending corporate tax loopholes and business tax subsidies."

Social Security US: can my wife get Social Security if I am disabled?


Social Security US: can my wife get Social Security if I am disabled?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is best known for the benefits offered to retired workers in the United States, but the agency provides a variety of other programs to offer financial support to vulnerable Americans.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to you and certain family members if you are insured, meaning that you have contributed enough to the SSA during your time in work. Read our full coverage for more on which federal government programs can be claimed simultaneously.

Also today, the administration announced an Action Plan to Ease the Burden of Housing Costs, taking a series of actions to address one of the largest items in a typical family’s budget and one of the largest drivers of inflation in our economy.

As President, Biden has said tackling inflation is his top economic priority.  The best thing we can do to ease the burden of housing costs is to boost the supply of quality housing, including building more new homes and preserving existing federal support and market-rate affordable housing.

Today’s action plan includes legislative and administration — administrative actions that will help close America’s housing supply shortfalls in five years, starting with creation — the creation of preservation of hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units in the next three years.

Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Press Secretary

Hello and welcome to AS USA's Financial News live blog.

From Washington to Wall Street we will be bringing you all the investment and monetary news you need.

Still haven't received your tax refund? Do not worry, we have you covered on how to contact the IRS.

Cryptocurrency is seeing one of its largest decreases in years, with many long-term investors exiting the market, what does this mean for Bitcoin?

Gas prices are up around the country, a sign that while inflation began to slow in April, numbers could spike again in May.



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