Daily Digest 1/1 – The 2010s Economy In Charts, U.S. Had Slowest Growth Rate In A Century

Economy

How a routine doctor visit for a sore throat resulted in a $28,000 medical bill (Saxplayer00o1)

Her doctor gave her a step throat culture. “She sent in a nurse, and they did blood work. That was it. She gave me a prescription for antibiotics. I left,” Kasdan said.

The Fed seems to have halted a potential crisis in the overnight lending market — for now (Saxplayer00o1)

To address the issues, the Fed has conducted daily operations thus far totaling more than $234 billion to dampen market volatility and keep the central bank’s overnight funds level, which is used as a benchmark for multiple other short-term interest rates, within a range of 1.5%-1.75%.

From opioid deaths to student debt: A view of the 2010s economy in charts (Saxplayer00o1)

Total balances owed to pay for higher education more than doubled since 2009 to around $1.5 trillion today – equal to nearly 8% of annual U.S. economic output. Nearly 11% of the total outstanding is 90 days or more behind in payments.

Drugmakers from Pfizer to GSK to hike prices on over 200 drugs (Sparky1)

Soaring U.S. prescription drug prices are expected to again be a central issue in the presidential election. President Donald Trump, who made bringing them down a core pledge of his 2016 campaign, is running for re-election in 2020.

100 Years Ago, the Booziest January Suddenly Dried Up (jdargis)

For those experimenting with temporary sobriety, there is pride in abstention. These droughts are self-imposed and finite — and come with social media bragging rights. But the last time we entered a decade known as the ’20s, Americans were staring down the barrel of a government-mandated dry spell, with no end in sight. For those who partook of the hard stuff, this first dry January was greeted not with determination and #goals but with denial and despair.

With Births Down, U.S. Had Slowest Growth Rate In A Century (thc0655)

For the first time in decades, natural increase — the number of births minus the number of deaths — was less than 1 million in the U.S. due to an aging population of Baby Boomers, whose oldest members entered their 70s within the past several years. As the large Boomer population continues to age, this trend is going to continue.

“Some of these things are locked into place. With the aging of the population, as the Baby Boomers move into their 70s and 80s, there are going to be higher numbers of deaths,” Frey said. “That means proportionately fewer women of child bearing age, so even if they have children, it’s still going to be less.”

As Betelgeuse Dims Dramatically, Astronomers Scratch Their Heads (Thomas R.)

For about 25 years, Richard Wasatonic, an astronomer at Villanova University, has measured the brightness of Betelgeuse with a 10-inch-diameter telescope in his backyard. He’s worked with another Villanova astronomer named Edward Guinan, as well as an amateur astronomer named Thomas Calderwood. In October, they noticed that Betelgeuse was getting fainter again. By early December, they realized that Betelgeuse had gotten fainter than it had in the past 25 years and put out a post on a site known as The Astronomer’s Telegram to alert other astronomers.

West’s ‘dust bowl’ future now ‘locked in’, as world risks imminent food crisis (Roger B.)

Research sponsored by global credit ratings agency Moody’s concludes that by the end of century, parts of the US and Europe are now bound to experience severe reductions in rainfall equivalent to the American ‘dust bowl’ of the 1930s, which devastated midwest farming for a decade. These consequences are now ‘locked in’ as a consequence of carbon emissions which we have already accumulated into the atmosphere.

Thanks to this landmark court ruling, climate action is now inseparable from human rights (ezlxq1949)

The supreme court ruled on Friday that argument does not hold because every country is responsible for its contribution to the problem. Serious climate policy should certainly be expected from a rich country such as the Netherlands, which has a relatively high carbon footprint per inhabitant.

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