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USA finance and payments summary news: 25 june

Latest US finance news and information today, with updates on gas prices, inflation, Bitcoin, unemployment benefits and much more.

US finance news: live updates

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

With inflation still troubling high many Social Security recipients are already looking ahead to the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase for benefits payments 2023. Each year the agency issued an inflation-based increase to payments, and next year's figure looks like being a big one. 

Last year, it was announced that the COLA rise would be 5.9 percent. This was done at a time when annual inflation stood at 6.2 percent, so was slightly behind. Now, with inflation at 8.3 percent, this increase was woefully short of what was necessary.

Read more


Will raising interest rates actually tackle inflation?

Earlier this month the Federal Reserve opted to use its most powerful tool against inflation when it announced a significant increase on interest hikes. The hike of three-quarters of a point was the largest single increase the Fed has introduced since 1994 but experts are still unsure if it will have the desired impact.

Raising interest rates is designed to cool the economy by making it more expensive to borrow and boosting the returns for consumers who decide to save. But interest rates are a fairly blunt tool and there is the danger that their effort could go too far and push the United States into a recession. 

Which companies have policies to cover travel expenses for employees who need abortions?

Friday's Supreme Court ruling means that millions of women will no longer be able to get an abortion in their home states, or will be subject to much more stringent restrictions than had previously been allowed. You can still travel to another state to get the procedure, but this adds a huge financial cost which could be prohibitive for women from poorer backgrounds. 

However a number of major employers have expanded their healthcare provision to include travel expenses related to abortions, and some even include dependents in the policy. 

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Economist blames big business for high inflation

“I’m always pointing out that the major problems come down to supply chain disruptions, a labor shortage, the war in Ukraine and the lockdowns in China. But I think the blame for inflation might go further than that."

Jim Cramer , CNBC's 'Mad Money'

“There’s another reason we have all of these supply shortages: Our government doesn’t have a productive relationship with big business. Like it or not, big business has the ability to rein in inflation, but they don’t have any incentive to do so."

Jim Cramer, CNBC's 'Mad Money'

Why are gas prices so high in the United States?

Consumers have noticed rapid price rises in recent months, but there are few sectors that have experienced increases as pronounced as the motor fuel industry. Twelve months ago the national average price of gasoline was little over $3 per gallon, but last week that figure rose to $5-per-gallon for the first time in US history. So what is fueling the rapid increase in gasoline prices?


IRS makes gasoline price adjustment

For the second half of 2022, the IRS has updated its business mileage allowance to reflect the high price of gasoline in the US. In a press release the tax agency confirmed that the standard mileage rate for business travel will be increased 62.5 cents per mile, up 4 cents from the rate used at the start of the year.

"The IRS is adjusting the standard mileage rates to better reflect the recent increase in fuel prices," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "We are aware a number of unusual factors have come into play involving fuel costs, and we are taking this special step to help taxpayers, businesses and others who use this rate.” 

Gas price predictions: how high will the cost per gallon rise and when will it go down?

What next for the price of gas in the United States? The average price of a gallon of gasoline has risen almost constantly throughout 2022, reaching record heights every day with little suggesting an end to the increases is near.

The price has been hovering around the $5-per-gallon mark for nearly two weeks, while little over a year ago the average price was $3.060. Consumers are now being forced to pay nearly $2 more per gallon that they were 12 months ago, and that is having a severe effect on the household finances of millions of Americans.

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Biden and Fed chief at odds over inflationary causes

When explaining the reasons behind the sky-high rate of inflation in the United States, President Joe Biden often looks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. After seeing the recent inflation report Biden said that “Putin’s price hike is hitting America hard," but is this really the main cause of price rises?

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell thinks otherwise, and pointed out the the US had been experiencing substantial price rises last year too. At a committee hearing on Wednesday, Powell said, “No, inflation was high before — certainly before the war in Ukraine broke out.”


Will the gas tax holday help with high gas prices?

The White House is though to be pushing for Congress to pass a bill enacting a three-month pause on gasoline taxes, removing 18 cents off the price of every litre of gas automatically. However there is concern that such a measure may not have the desired effect, and may only serve to push up the demand and increase prices further. Much of the problem at the moment stems from long-lasting supply issues, which are unlikely to be resolved by governmental intervention in the short term. 

Unemployment benefits: California recovers over $1 billion in fraudulent benefits

Amid the covid-19 pandemic, boosted unemployment support was seized upon by fraudsters, who stole billions of dollars intended for out-of-work Americans.

AS USA's Will Gittins has the full story

How to know if you are eligible for spousal Social Security benefits

Spouses of retired workers can receive benefits even if they have not contributed to the programme themselves - and they are pretty easy to get.

AS USA's Oli Povey has the full story


Support for gas tax holiday

White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain noted on Friday that there is support among the American population for a federal gas tax holiday. Per YouGov polling, over 50% of US adults said they were in favour of the plan.

Can you work while receiving disability benefits?

The two main programs for disabled Americans, SSDI and SSI, have different income thresholds for recipients who are able to work and still receive support.

AS USA's Will Gittins has the full lowdown

Stimulus checks and how the US government has helped Americans

AS USA's Jennifer Bubel takes a look at how the US government has helped American households cope with the economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic since early 2020.

Is Bitcoin a long-term or short-term investment according to experts?

Cryptocurrency can be highly a volatile financial asset, recently experiencing major losses.

AS USA's Greg Heilman looks at some strategies for investing in crypto

Joe Biden

Biden calls for federal gas tax holiday

President Biden this week urged Congress to approve a three-month federal gas tax holiday, to help ease the financial strain on US motorists. 

"The President believes that at this unique moment when the war in Ukraine is imposing costs on American families, Congress should do what it can to provide working families breathing room," a White House statement said on Wednesday.

AS USA's Greg Heilman has more on the proposal

(Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)


Expert warns of "apocalyptic" gas prices if hurricanes hit refineries

An energy expert warned on Friday that the US could be in for “apocalyptic” gas prices if domestic oil refineries are affected by hurricane season.

Speaking to Fox Business, OPIS’ Tom Kloza said: “Unfortunately, positive signs between now and… the middle of August may be just overwhelmed if we have an active tropical season. I think for gasoline, we go back above five, and…apocalyptic numbers come into play with hurricanes.”

What are gas prices in the US and each state? Today 25 June 2022

According to figures compiled by AAA, the average price per gallon of regular gas in the US today stands at $4.908.

For more on the cost of gas nationwide and in your state, take a look at AS USA's daily price breakdown.


US finance news, live updates: welcome

Good morning and welcome to AS USA's daily live blog for Saturday 25 June 2022, bringing you the latest US financial news.