Auto Debt and Inequality

Seven million Americans, according to numbers from the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York, are at least three months behind on their car payments. By the summer of 2018 Americans owed more than   1.26 trillion, more than they did at the end of the recession in 2009.  It paints a troubling picture. Car delinquencies usually come after housing but nevertheless are used to reflect a measure of inequality. While some do own cars they cannot afford, car ownership which is a necessity for many to be able to go to work, is associated with more stability and a bank account that may have a  bit of a balance. Experts say that the number of people defaulting on their car loan points to “financial duress”. People are delinquent on their house first, their credit cards second and their car third. So the increase in delinquencies with car debt is more significant than it first appears. It means that too many people are not able to hold on to something they consider an important or necessary asset.

We hear about near full employment, about the economy doing well and it’s easy to forget about income inequality and how it manifests itself, but it is a mistake to do so. It’s not only a question of remembering those who are struggling, it’s also seeing what lies behind a prosperity that benefits too few.

Feeding The Planet

More and more statistics tell us people need to lose weight and it turns out that has an important consequence: Feeding the planet. By 2050 the planet will grow to 9 billion people. And it seems people getting larger will pose a challenge to feeding the planet while hopefully not increasing world hunger. The researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology say this greater caloric intake has not been factored into previous calculations and forecasts of the food needed. The scientists say, ”Based on the discovered trends, feeding 9 billion people in 2050 will Continue reading “Feeding The Planet”

Hail The Caravan

As an immigrant I know what it’s like to leave all you know for the unknown. We had visas, we weren’t penniless, we flew to the US and regardless I felt fear.  When you emigrate everything familiar is gone and you don’t know how it will be replaced, nor do you know what will happen next. I heard and read about the caravan from Central America and I  can’t help thinking about those courageous people who are willing to walk  a couple of thousand  miles or more in search of some safety, in search for some opportunities out of assured poverty and violence, in search of  better lives for their families. They banded together to avoid the criminals who prey on migrants, Continue reading “Hail The Caravan”

On Selling Kidneys

Shashank Bengali is the Los Angeles Times South Indian correspondent.  Some time ago he had written a story about a hospital in Mumbai that was busted because it was doing illegal kidney transplants, which he says was a sort of cautionary tale because a young man has been lured to sell a kidney. Months later Bengali received an email. Someone thought he was in the business of selling kidneys. He did not pay Continue reading “On Selling Kidneys”