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Bill’s By The Number$

Posted by: Lisa Navarro | Posted on: October 18th, 2021 | 0 Comments

  1. NOT ALL ARE COUNTED THE SAME – As of the close of stock trading on Friday 10/15/21, just 5 stocks in the S&P 500 index, i.e., just 1% of the index’s stocks, are responsible for 20% of the index’s return. The S&P 500 consists of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry group representation.  It is a market value weighted index with each stock’s weight in the index proportionate to its market value (source: BTN Research).
  1. EXPECTING NOTHING – 42% of working Americans surveyed in December 2018 fear that they will receive no retirement benefits from Social Security when they retire (source: Pew Research Center).
  1. REDUCED, NOT ELIMINATED – Social Security trustees announced on 8/31/21 that unless financial changes are implemented, the payment of Social Security benefits would drop to 76% of their originally promised levels beginning in 2033 through the year 2095 (source: Social Security Trustees 2021 Report).
  1. PRINT AND PURCHASE – The Fed’s balance sheet reached $7.96 trillion as of 10/13/21, up from $3.76 trillion as of 1/08/20. The first US pandemic death occurred in the week before 1/11/20 (source: Federal Reserve).
  1. DEBT CEILING – On Thursday 10/14/21, President Biden signed a debt ceiling bill that adds $480 billion to our existing debt ceiling, bring the limit up to $28.9 trillion. Current projections have Congress breaching that new limit on Friday 12/03/21 (in less than 7 weeks), but the actual end date is unknown (source: Congress).
  1. FUNNY MATH – 2 White House economists released a paper (“What is the Average Federal Individual Income Tax Rate on the Wealthiest Americans?”) on 9/23/21, concluding that the wealthiest 400 households in the US paid an average tax rate of just 8.2% over the years 2010-2018. The economists calculated “average tax rate” by dividing “federal income taxes paid” by the “change of net worth” for the 400 families over the entire 9 years, i.e., the White House economists included “unrealized gains” in the denominator, gains that are not immediately taxable under current US tax law (source: White House).
  1. GOES UP, YOU PAY – Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, wants to tax on an annual basis the “unrealized capital gains” of taxpayers worth more than $1 billion (source: CNBC).
  1. BULLSEYE ON THEIR BACKS – There were 724 billionaires in the United States as of 4/06/21 (source: Forbes World’s Billionaires List).
  1. WHAT THEY REALLY PAID – Over the 9 years 2010-2018 the wealthiest “one one-thousandth of one percent” (0.001% or 0.00001) of US taxpayers (approximately 1,400 tax returns) paid $402 billion in aggregate federal income taxes (over the 9 years) and reported $1.82 trillion in aggregate adjusted gross income (over the 9 years), resulting in an average tax rate of 22.1% (over the 9 years) (source: Internal Revenue Service).
  1. MISSING – At the end of February 2020 (pre-pandemic), the US reported a 3.5% jobless rate, i.e., 5.717 million unemployed Americans divided by our 164.448 million “civilian labor force.” At the end of September 2021 (last month), the US reported a 4.8% jobless rate, i.e., 7.674 million unemployed Americans divided by our 161.354 million “civilian labor force.”  Thus, during the pandemic, out-of-work Americans have increased by +2.0 million and our labor force has shrunk by 3.1 million (source: Department of Labor).
  1. WHEN WILL THEY SPEND IT? – An estimated $3.3 trillion of additional cash has been accumulated in bank accounts by American households since the beginning of the pandemic, i.e., cash that would have previously been spent (and not saved) if the pandemic had not occurred (source: Longview Economics).
  1. ALL GOOD – Since March 2021, 456,000 Americans with student loans have had their college debt forgiven, i.e., discharged, a total of $8.7 billion in loan forgiveness (source: Department of Education).
  1. WE’RE CLOSE TO THAT – The annual operating budget of Saudi Arabia, heavily dependent on the price of oil, requires a breakeven crude oil price of $88 a barrel (source: International Monetary Fund).
  1. BOOM – The Nobel Prize for Economics has been awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences since 1968. This year’s winners (3 Americans) will split the 10 million kronor prize (worth approximately $1.2 million).  Alfred Nobel created the annual prizes across multiple disciplines at his death in 1896.  Nobel made his fortune by inventing dynamite (source: Nobelprize.org).
  1. YOU JUST NEVER KNOW – On 3/12/21 (during baseball’s spring training this year), the San Francisco Giants were an 80-to-1 long shot to win the 2021 major league baseball World Series. The Giants finished the 2021 regular season with a 107-55 record, the best record in MLB among all 30 teams (source: Sportsbookwire).

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