Economics and Investing:

Student debt apocalypse: Median wages up 1.6% over last 25 years while median student debt is up 163.8%.

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Bracken: Burning Down the House in 2016. Commentary: This article from Western Rifle Shooters Association has a lot of economic content and is well-written and hard-hitting. Warning: Some of the comments posted after the article contain racial references I found somewhat offensive, unnecessary and inappropriate. Sites that include open commentary are vulnerable to this. With this in mind, the article itself was a worthwhile read. – Submitted by K.F.

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Items from Professor Preponomics:

US News

The Economics of “Free Stuff” (Mises) Excerpt: “The perennial promises of free stuff from political candidates are front and center again now that we are ensnared in another US election cycle. The knee-jerk response from some economists and libertarians is “TANSTAAFL!” And of course it’s true that There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, because somebody must bear the costs of the supposedly “free” stuff. Nothing is free because every action has an opportunity cost.”

$290B in Federal Subsidies and Health Insurance Premiums are Still Soaring (Econintersect via Contra Corner) Excerpt: “Most Americans are covered by private health insurance, which they either obtain through employment or purchase individually. Insurance premiums – the payments made to buy that coverage by enrollees or by other parties on their behalf – are high and rising.”

Cancer and Obamacare: A Double Whammy (The New American) Excerpt: “Now imagine you’re a cancer patient of modest means trying to figure out which ObamaCare policy to buy that will both cover your treatment, preferably at the provider of your choice, and be, as the law’s moniker suggests, affordable. Then imagine that you get churned about in the wheels of bureaucracy and end up with either no coverage or coverage you can’t afford.”

JP Morgan Puts Another $500M Aside for Energy Sector Woes (Reuters) Excerpt: “JP Morgan will set aside an additional half a billion dollars to cover potential bad loans to oil and gas companies in the first quarter, underlining the sharp deterioration in the U.S. energy sector.”

International News

Moody’s Warns on Top Canadian Banks (Reuters) Excerpt: “The worry is the oil rout will hit mortgages, auto loans and credit card debt of consumers, especially in Alberta.”

Oil Price Shock, Overvalued Homes Threaten Canadian Banks, Fitch Says (The Huffington Post Canada) Excerpt: “Canada’s commodity-reliant economy will be facing challenges that pose new risks to Canada’s major banks if oil prices remain ‘lower for longer’ and/or this creates a macroeconomic shock to the economy….”

Jobless Benefits Claims Soar 100% in Canada’s Dying Oil Patch As Construction Jobs Plunge 84% (Zero Hedge) Excerpt: “Suicide rates are up in the province, as is property crime and foodbank usage. The malaise underscores the fact that Canada’s oil patch is dying. WCS prices are teetering just CAD1 above marginal operating costs, and the BoC failed to cut rates last month, meaning it’s just a matter of time before the entire Canadian oil production complex collapses on itself.” Warning: Commentary following article may include bad language or inappropriate avatar images.

Personal Economics and Household Finance

Garden Planning for Preservation: Best Foods to Freeze, Can, Dehydrate and Ferment (Mother Earth News) Excerpt: “Our vegetable gardens offer us beautiful, fresh bounty during the growing season — and they also have the potential to increase our food security the rest of the year. When you craft a plan to put up some of the crops you grow, you’re preparing for the future, simplifying winter meals, reducing waste, and saving money, too.”

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