Spendthrift nation

Money | The savings rate has been falling steadily in recent years, but until last year it had not gone negative for a full year since 1933
by Timothy Lamer
Posted 2/11/06, 12:00 am

A penny earned was more than a penny spent by Americans last year, as the U.S. personal savings rate dropped into negative territory for the first time since the Great Depression.

The Commerce Department reported last week that the 2005 savings rate was minus 0.5 percent, meaning that Americans last year spent all of their after-tax income and then dipped into savings to spend even more. December was an especially profligate month, as consumer spending increased 0.9 percent while incomes rose less than half as fast, at 0.4 percent.

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End of an era

Money | Good things happen when inflation is low, and Alan Greenspan's tenure as head of the Federal Reserve Board witnessed a strong run for the U.S.
by Timothy Lamer
Posted 2/04/06, 12:00 am

The Labor Department reported on Jan. 18 that the consumer price index rose by 3.4 percent during 2005.

The fact that most people probably missed that news-or they heard it and promptly forgot it-is a testimony to Alan Greenspan's tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Thirty years ago, everybody would have heard about a CPI gain of 3.4 percent, and nobody would have forgotten it. Politicians, rushing to podiums to claim credit, wouldn't have let them forget.

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Worldly benefits

Money | The biblical reason to work hard is out of gratitude to God for the free gift of salvation and love of neighbor
by Timothy Lamer
Posted 1/21/06, 12:00 am

A recent study lends support to the idea that other things are added to those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. In the study, Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber argues that going to church makes people wealthier. Specifically, he claims that a doubling of church attendance will raise a household's income by 9.1 percent.

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