PANDEMIC AID KEPT MILLIONS OF AMERICANS OUT OF POVERTY

Guest Writer, September 18 2021

Data released by the Census Bureau this week show how the government’s stimulus programs since last March kept millions of Americans out of poverty and preserved their access to health care. 

By Dave Allen for Discount Gold & Silver

Data released by the Census Bureau this week show how the government’s stimulus programs since last March kept millions of Americans out of poverty and preserved their access to health care. 

Despite one of the nation’s worst labor markets ever.

The official poverty rate in 2020 was 11.4%, with 37.2 million people in poverty — an 8.6% increase from 10.5% in 2019, which was the lowest rate since 1959. 

It was also the first annual increase in the poverty rate following five straight annual declines. The increase in poverty coincided with the 2020 recession and pandemic. 

By contrast, during the Great Recession, the poverty rate increased 14.4% — from 12.5% in 2007 to 14.3% in 2009. 

Thus, the increase in poverty during the 2020 recession (1.0 percentage points) was 45% smaller than the increase associated with the Great Recession (1.8 percentage points). 

Most of that difference can be attributed to special pandemic aid passed by Congress and enacted into law by the White House since March 2020.

Pandemic Aid Kept Millions More Out of Poverty

All federal government aid combined (regular plus pandemic aid) protected 53 million people from poverty in 2020 — up from 35 million in 2019, according to the nonpartisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. 

If you exclude income from government assistance, the poverty rate would have increased by 2.8 percentage points, reflecting the reality of many people seeing their private incomes fall because of the pandemic. 

When government assistance is included, however, poverty fell by 2.6 percentage points.

Applying one of the Bureau’s main poverty measures, the number of people with income below the poverty line fell by 8.5 million from 2019 because of pandemic relief measures (together with existing programs). 

Stimulus payments kept the annual incomes of almost 12 million people above the poverty line. 

Unemployment insurance benefits kept 5.5 million people out of poverty — 5 million more than 2019 — and monthly nutrition assistance 3.2 million.

The annual figures used by Census average together impressive amounts of relief — stimulus payments, enhanced jobless benefits, food assistance, medical coverage, and more.

But the figures obscure the weeks and sometimes months of hardship, when families were waiting for aid to arrive or wondering if Congress would renew expiring benefits or pass a second stimulus payment. 

To wit, over  Read more

What Inflation?

Bob Rinear, September 15 2021

For millions of us, September 11, only has one meaning. But there’s a few people that like to celebrate a birthday on 9/11 and the birthday I’m speaking of was a woman named Mary Elizabeth Lease.

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You Know

Bob Rinear, September 11 2021

On Saturday it will be 20 years from one of the most significant events in human history. 9/11.

You know where you were. You know what you were wearing, who you were with, and what you were doing. You, like millions of others stared at your TV screen, with both wonder and fear, remorse and sadness. It couldn’t be… but…it was.

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Rolling Out

Bob Rinear, September 8 2021

I mentioned to my readers that the first few days of this week could get bumpy in the equity markets. So, seeing them come back from the Holiday weekend and send the DOW down 277 points in the first hour, that prediction was on its way to coming true.

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Labor Day and Jobs

Bob Rinear, September 4 2021

I think that of all the Holidays we celebrate throughout the year, Labor Day is the least understood.  For instance, on the 4th of July we celebrate Independence Day. Everyone sort of knows the story. Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Memorial Day we acknowledge the fine servicemen and women who died defending our Nation. Most seem to know of all this.

But when it comes to Labor Day, I find an awful lot of folks, don’t quite know what it is they’re celebrating. So let’s take just a few minutes to remember what this is all about.

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Catching Up

Bob Rinear, September 1 2021

But I think there’s a much more sinister side to all of this in the works too. And, while I try to keep some of the more “dark” issues out of the letters, sometimes you just have to put it out there. So, what am I babbling about? Klaus and his World Economic Forum.

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BUSINESSES WORRIED ABOUT COVID RISK Ready for QE to Go and for Powell to Stay

Guest Writer, August 25 2021

As we know, sentiment — of investors, traders and plain ole households — can drive the day-to-day direction of markets as the players react to the headlines and other events.

According to Charles Schwab’s latest Active Trader Pulse survey, the pandemic is once again the leading risk factor among traders.

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FALLING CONSUMER SENTIMENT BAD NEWS FOR THE ECONOMY, GOOD NEWS FOR GOLD

Guest Writer, August 18 2021

In a further signal that the U.S. economy isn’t out of the woods, the widely followed consumer sentiment index that’s produced by the University of Michigan shows that consumer sentiment plummeted in early August.

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I’m Confused

Bob Rinear, August 14 2021

Ocean shipping rates have been soaring. The cost to get oil to our refineries has gone up for months. So, frankly this little charade has very little chance of keeping a lid on oil prices. It’s probably going higher, unless of course they play the “lets shut the country down game” again.

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DESPITE STRONG JULY JOBS REPORT, IT’S STILL NOT TIME TO CELEBRATE

Guest Writer, August 11 2021

A few of Friday’s headlines set me off…

“July’s strong jobs report puts the Federal Reserve on track to slow its bond purchases.” 

“Unemployment rate drops to 5.4%, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

“President resists temptation to take a victory lap Friday following the release of strong jobs numbers.”

Give me a break (please)!

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Why Gold, Not Sand?

Bob Rinear, August 7 2021

On Wednesday, I had written an article about how 50 years back, Nixon removed us from the Gold standard, and how we turned from being a currency backed by Gold, to a currency that was ONLY in demand, because we had a deal with the house of Saud that oil could only be purchased with US Dollars.

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History Lane

Bob Rinear, August 4 2021

Yes friends, let’s take a walk down history lane. 50 years back to be exact. Because 50 years ago this month, President Nixon “closed” the Gold window to the world, basically defaulting on our promises to always back the US dollar with some amount of gold. 

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STARS ARE ALIGNED FOR GOLD TO SHINE IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Guest Writer, July 31 2021

Earlier this week, the World Gold Council released its informative and eminently readable mid-year outlook for gold. 

Looking at the first half of 2021, the WGC found that “strong consumer demand recovery and [2nd quarter] gold ETF inflows were not enough to offset heavy [1st quarter] outflows.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the WGC sees interest rates, inflation, devaluing of fiat currencies and higher exposure to risk assets combining “to prompt strategic investors to add gold to their [portfolios].”

That, in turn, will put upward pressure on gold prices in the second half of 2021, especially when assuming expectations for underperforming economies in the U.S. and elsewhere (the WGC doesn’t forecast prices of gold).

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What Economy?

Bob Rinear, July 28 2021

There is no economy. There is however, trillions in Fed/Government money keeping the plates in the air. So let’s talk about inflation, the so called economy, and what’s really going on.

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DEBT CEILING AGITA RETURNS Antsy Investors Are Watching

Guest Writer, July 24 2021

The imminent return of the federal government’s debt ceiling is causing agita among money-market traders once again.

Conventional wisdom holds that the risk that Uncle Sam might default by missing a payment on a bill or two is next to nothing.

Nevertheless, investors are wondering if and how the Treasury can slash its giant cash pile to the level the department has indicated would be consistent with its policies and the 2019 act that suspended the limit. 

And they’re concerned about the impact that any such moves could have on short-term funding markets, which underpin much of the global financial architecture.

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