Americans spent less on gas, water, and electricity in May, holding back overall consumer spending even as incomes improved. Personal consumption expenditures increased a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in May, the Commerce Department said Friday. That was half the amount forecast by economists, according to Bloomberg’s Econoday.Consumer spending on goods increased by 0.3 percent, led by spending on recreational goods and vehicles. But consumer spending on services declined in large part because household spending on utilities fell. Over 100 electric, gas ,and water utilities have cut their customer charges due to the Trump tax cuts. That amounts to a total savings of about $3 billion, according to Americans for Tax Reform. Personal income–which includes pre-tax wages, salaries, and dividends–rose by the expected 0.4 percent in May, up from a revised 0.2 percent rise in April. Wages, however, rose by just 0.3 percent despite very low levels of unemployment. … [Read more...] about A Very Trumpian May: American Incomes and Savings Rose While Utility Bills Fell
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The Tribune’s Mark Gonzales answers questions about the Cubs’ inability to drive runners home from second base with no outs, the White Sox’s affordability to sign a marquee free agent, and trade rumors around Manny Machado.Is anyone else tired of every leadoff double being stranded at second base? Can’t Chili Davis get these guys to quit trying to hit the ball to the moon and get them to move a runner to third with one out? If there are statistics on it, where do the Cubs stand with a leadoff double coming in to score? — Jim KratkyYour eyes aren’t lying. The Cubs are batting .161 with a runner at second with no outs, and rank last in baseball with a .172 batting average with a runner at second base entering play Tuesday.Since the White Sox payroll must be low, do you think they sign a big free agent next year? I don't think anyone on the team is locked in a long-term contract or making big money outside of James Shields? The future is not about … [Read more...] about Cubs Q&A: How serious is interest in Manny Machado? Do you like ‘Careless Whisper’?
Identity thieves may be able to hijack your phone and utility accounts, thanks to a little-known credit reporting database run by Equifax. The National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange is a non-profit "member" association that warehouses consumer payment data related to utility bills – cable, electric, gas, water and phone. It is run by Atlanta-based Equifax, the same company that had a record-breaking 143 million-file data breach last year. However, the NCTUE is a separate organization from the credit bureau, according to an Equifax spokeswoman. Thus, freezing your credit file at Equifax does not freeze your NCTUE file. That has left a gaping hole in the walls that many consumers have attempted to place around their financial lives in the wake of nearly incessant data breaches that expose individuals to identity theft. Just ask Carrie Kerskie, director of the Identity Fraud Institute at Hodges University in Naples, Florida. "People have come to us because … [Read more...] about This Equifax credit database can boost your risk of phone fraud
As the door to his home opens, Tony Caldwell, 58, shifts his wheelchair slightly to accommodate his guests.The former delivery driver for a concession machine company lives in Westminster Apartments, a 32-unit, generic-looking, two-floor apartment complex, fenced off from the surrounding Piedmont Park area in Atlanta. It’s better than most public housing, he says, although the rooms are modest and the ground floor not always secure. Caldwell and his wife Peggy Ogburn, who’s also retired and disabled, receive government benefits totaling $2,071 a month. From that, they pay $574 in rent. Theirs is among the nearly 125,000 low-income households in Georgia that receive federal rent subsidies from HUD — the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Tony Caldwell, 58, of Atlanta, talked to The AJC on May 4, 2018, about how rent increases proposed by U.S. Housing ... read more Caldwell has heard about HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s rent reform … [Read more...] about Proposed HUD rent reforms have locals worrying, wondering
ROSSVILLE, Ga. — The rats twist and slide through the holes in Danny Ray Mooneyham's manufactured home. They enter through the living room wall, the bathroom floor, the kitchen floor and a small opening in the hallway closet. They're up to a foot long, with patchy gray hair. They squeak. They chew whatever meal they can find. They eat dog food, uncooked macaroni, hot sauce, Cocoa Puffs, blood pressure pills and muscle relaxers. They nibble holes in Mooneyham's wife's clothes. One ran into the shower with their 7-year-old son, Edward. "I can hear them in the walls," said Mooneyham's mother-in-law, Janice Wells, who spotted three rats in her closet last week. The Mooneyhams live on Lot 75 of Stoney Pointe Mobile Home Park, located on Schmitt Road. It's Danny; his wife, Vanessa; Edward; Wells; and Marshall Wilson. Wilson is Vanessa's father. He's also Wells' ex-husband. He has five stents in his heart, he said. Vanessa is blind in her right eye. Wells gets seizures. Danny, a … [Read more...] about Rent-to-own tenants of Rossville, Ga., mobile home park deal with rats, ruin and eviction