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Last Call for HARP

One of the most beneficial consumer rescue programs from the Great Recession era is about to expire.  The Home Affordability Refinance Program—known as HARP—was passed by a bipartisan Congress in 2009, to enable borrowers who were under water on their homes, or close to under water, to refinance into more affordable mortgages.  The guidelines said that you had to have betw

Self-Driving Timetable

There has been a lot of hype about self-driving cars, but when, realistically, can we expect to be driven to our destination by a vehicle that has no steering wheel, gas pedal or seat specifically designated for a driver?  The answer depends on which of many competitors you’re talking about, but it looks like people in test cities will be able to hail a self-driving cab sometime next

The Most Popular Baby Name Awards Go To…

The U.S.

Shrinking Motherhood

We recently celebrated Mother’s Day in the U.S., but demographics tell us that mothers make up a smaller percentage of the population than at any time in at least the last quarter century.  Today, only about 26% of Americans are women who currently have or have had children, and only 15% of Americans are mothers living with their own children.  (See graph). 

Healthy Earnings - For Now

Professional investors are constantly trying to figure out whether the U.S. economy is healthy or sliding toward a recession.  The most important tea leaves they read are actual corporate earnings vs.

Better Conversation-Starters

Sometimes our social interactions seem to happen by default, and we don’t get much out of them.  Consider the stock greeting: “How are you?” 

What information are you likely to get when you ask this tired question?  Tired answers, like: “Busy,” “fine,” “okay,” or “good.” 

The Long Reach of the IRS

You probably don’t spend a lot of time feeling sorry for a U.S. citizen named Meghan Markle, who is about to tie the proverbial knot with Prince Harry of England.  But an article in the Wall Street Journal notes that Ms. Markle, and other American citizens who marry foreigners, face a lifetime of harassment by America’s Internal Revenue Service.

A Better Place

A recent global survey of more than 18,000 adults in nine countries asked a simple question: “All things considered, do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither getting better nor worse?”

The Trade War that Isn’t—Yet

When most of us hear talk about something described as a “war,” we intuitively recognize that there could be very unpleasant outcomes on all sides.  Wars have one thing in common: there is seldom a clear-cut “winner” amid the damage and destruction. 

Tech Advances to Watch

What are the most important technological advances from the past year?  Every year, MIT Technology Review provides its answers to the question, with an eye toward the innovations that will have the greatest impact on consumers.

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