This week we cover the debt ceiling debate (because it won't go away), the NFL lockout, relieving stress, financial challenges faced by women, better food labels, dubious product labels, and a dog that doesn't do a very good dog paddle.
Salon: How to make a bad economy even worse - I gotta get partisan here, and that might be okay because the majority of the country wants to raise revenue (i.e. taxes). The debt ceiling debate is continually talked about cutting spending to help the economy. Except not injecting money into the economy will actually exacerbate current problems. Which doesn't mean increasing stupid spending--but cutting all spending just for the sake of it will curb growth. Additionally, Republicans keep shouting "Where are the jobs?" yet default would mean
not paying thousands of people. Not only that but no paychecks means no spending which will put a drag on the economy overall. Federal jobs are jobs, too, so remind me how slashing Federal payrolls will increase job production.
Huffington Post: What Fans Should Take Away From the 2011 NFL Lockout - Meanwhile, while the debt ceiling negotiations totally devolve, the NFL shows how it's done. It's possible to make a deal even when two sides have very different priorities. Because get this--they realize it's better to have a football season than none at all. Sounds reasonable. This post is a good overview of what was learned from the lockout. The main claim is that the NFL is not totally fan-friendly. Well, it is in this way: they made sure there'd be an NFL season for fans to watch.
Lifehacker: Set Aside Time to Worry to Reduce Stress and Anxiety - These are incredibly stressful times, no doubt about it. If you're worried about your personal finances, the debacle on the national scene might make it worse. If things are fine at home, the crisis might make you reevaluate your own financial situation. In short, there's a whole lotta stress going around. Lifehacker reports on a study that shows that focusing on your stress is a good thing. It's not just a matter of relieving stress via yoga or something else--you need to concentrate on the stress itself. To sum it up: repression is bad, taking time to work out your problems is good. Pretty much how it works with money--ignoring your debts doesn't make your debt problem get any better.
Mint: Do Women Face Different Personal Finance Challenges Than Men? - When faced with the question in that title, many might respond: well, duh. But this post lays out all of the reasons why. Issues include the fact that women live longer and women on average take in less of an income. What doesn't make it into this post is that women shop more--which isn't entirely a stereotype.That said, men and women have very different shopping styles, where women browse a lot more. Even if women are browsers, rather than buyers, the fact that women browse more often will contribute to more purchases overall.
NY Times: Designing a Better Food Label - A group of UC Berkeley graduate students had a competition to design a better food label. This isn't just a school project, the labels could actually be considered by the Food and Drug Administration and make it into packaging. The winning entry (pictured at the link) is a kind of no-brainer. Which makes you think: why didn't they do this sooner? A visual graph makes a lot more sense to help make decisions about diet than a bunch of percentages where you're forced to do a math equation. Makes more sense than, say, banning certain food groups altogether.
Money Talks News: How to Read Beauty Product Labels - In the same vein, Money Talks News has a useful post about how to read product labels which are often full of half-truths, if not complete non-truths. The above study didn't tackle product labels, but it's possible the visual diagram could work in a similar way. For example it could illustrate how much of a shampoo is natural vs. chemical ingredients--thereby negating the shampoo's claim of being "Natural." As the post points out, the lowdown is this: "Never buy a personal care product based on a promise on its packaging." Unfortunately, because the claims are often so dubious, the answer is some amount of trial and error--you can trust your own lying eyes, or scalp.
Any tips out there for reading product labels and separating the bogus from the useful?
Finally, these are the dog days of summer, in more ways than one, so here's a dog attempting a swim.
never buy a personal care product based on a promise on its packaging.