There are few more easily observable measures of the cost of everyday living than the price of gasoline at the pump. As has been widely reported, gas prices in the United States recently hit a seven-year high. The striking thing, however, is not just how high gas prices have gotten, but how fast and far they have risen.
Based on statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration—the statistical arm of the Department of Energy—weekly average retail prices for regular unleaded gasoline in the United States increased 94 percent in less than two years. Average gas prices rose from $1.77 per gallon during the week ending April 27, 2020, to $3.44 per gallon during the week ending February 7, 2022—nearly doubling in the process.
That was the largest percentage increase in gas prices within a two-year window since October of 2005, more than 16 years ago. In the election of 2006, Republicans—then the party in power—lost 30 House and six Senate seats, thereby losing control of both chambers, before losing the presidency two years later.
The email from “Norton Protection” said I owed $999.99, which was “charged successfully and it will appear on your bank statement in 24 to 48 hours.” Although I have an account with a leading cybersecurity company, I’ve never paid that much for its products. To “cancel” the charge, I was instructed to call a number, conveniently highlighted in yellow.
All it took to bird-dog my fake debt email was a simple search-engine query of the invoice’s telephone number. It was based in Hawaii. Unfortunately, perhaps, for the real employees of Norton’s help desk, they are likely not stationed in the Aloha State.
In a nation swimming in real debt – with the average American owing an estimated $90,000 – it’s not surprising that “phantom debts” are one of the hottest scams.
The time has come to abolish the Georgia state income tax.
Sen. David Perdue was exactly right in proposing to eliminate the state income tax. He was also right in suggesting that he could work with the Georgia state legislature and find ways to return money to the people of Georgia rather than focusing it on the state bureaucracies.
The money is clearly there. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, “Despite pandemic, Georgia ends fiscal year with a record $3.2 billion jump in revenue.” The article went on to note, “The state saw revenue grow 13.5% over 2020. … Besides the boon in state tax collections, Georgia is also receiving about $4.7 billion or so from the latest federal COVID-19 relief plan.”
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board said that a Democratic effort to crack down on tax cheating would give the Treasury Department access to almost every American’s bank account.
The Thursday op-ed focused on a proposal that would require financial institutions to report individual accounts containing at least $10,000 to the IRS. That effort, the board wrote, would affect the vast majority of Americans who did not exclusively use cash to make purchases and pay bills.
“The details are murky, but most Americans could still get ensnared in this dragnet unless they pay bills and buy goods in cash,” the editorial board wrote. “Democrats say banks will only have to report total annual inflows and outflows, not discrete transactions. But nearly all Americans spend more than $10,000 a year.”
Louisiana U.S. Sen. John Kennedy has introduced a bill to limit protections for social media companies that secretly leverage user data to promote divisive content.
Kennedy, a Republican, blasted Silicon Valley behemoths such as Facebook and Twitter for “provoking” platform users and blamed the “manipulative” business practice for causing unnecessary social conflict.
“Social media giants are using people’s data to manipulate them into spending more time on their sites, but the price is a more polarized America,” Kennedy said in a statement. “It’s time to stop rewarding platforms that use their algorithms to target users with content that plays on individuals’ emotions without their consent.”