- The Bagel
- U.S. Households Now Hold $1.13 Trillion in Credit Card Debt
U.S. Households Now Hold $1.13 Trillion in Credit Card Debt
Monday, February 12th, 2024
Today’s newsletter is: 855 words; 4 min.
KNEAD TO KNOW
Former President Donald Trump said he would “encourage” Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to NATO allies that don’t meet defense spending targets. The mob-like statement, which would obviously violate treaty obligations, came the same day Ukrainian officials reported an overnight Russian drone strike killed seven people, including three children, in Kharkiv.
The S&P 500 closed above 5,000 for the first time ever. The broad U.S. index of the world’s biggest and best-known companies closed at 5,026 on Friday after briefly touching the 5,000 level on Thursday as strong earnings and economic news continues on.
The Hawaii Supreme Court rejected the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, ruling there is no individual right to bear arms. The court offered the “militia-centric” reasoning in a ruling upholding a state law requiring people to have a license before carrying guns in public.
The Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. It’s the third Super Bowl win for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was also named MVP for the third time.
Politics Warps Moral Judgments
A new study (with a hell of a title) by researchers at the University of Nebraska shows Americans’ moral judgment is “politically situational,” finding people, regardless of age or ideology, are more willing to act immorally or unethically when engaging in politics.
Why it matters: The researchers found the driving factor behind people’s moral ambiguity in politics is hostility toward other groups, like opposing political parties, underscoring the harm of outrage politics.
A new report by Epic Research examined a class of popular diabetes and weight-loss drugs called GLP-1 agonists, sold under brand names like Ozempic and Trulicity, on diabetic and non-diabetic patients, finding most versions of GLP-1s are linked to a decreased likelihood of developing depression.
Stand out: Diabetic patients taking medications with tirzepatide, the active ingredient in Eli Lilly’s popular Mounjaro, experienced the greatest reduction in depression risk at 65%.
Chernobyl’s “Mutant Wolves” Have Developed Cancer-Resistant Genes
A new study by researchers at Princeton University found the population of wolves living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which are exposed to daily radiation levels six times the legal safety limit for humans, have developed altered immune systems and genes that seem resistant to cancer.
Why it matters: To date, most human research has uncovered mutations that increase the risk of developing cancer; the researchers hope their work helps identify protective mutations that can increase the odds of surviving the disease.
U.S. Households Now Hold $1.13 Trillion in Credit Card Debt
The same week the S&P 500 flew to a new record high thanks to strong corporate earnings and economic news, the New York Federal Reserve offered a kick in the teeth, releasing a new report finding Americans now hold a record high $1.13 trillion in credit card debt.
Credit card balances increased by $50 billion last quarter, a 5% increase from the quarter prior, according to the Fed report.
A separate report by TransUnion also found the average credit card balance reached $6,360 last quarter, another new record high.
As the amount of credit card debt grows, so too do delinquencies.
According to the Fed report, credit card delinquency rates increased across all groups last quarter, particularly among young and low-income households.
The TransUnion report also found “serious delinquencies” (90 days or more past due) last quarter reached the highest level since 2009.
Why it’s rye-popping:
The contrast between stock market performance, which is enjoyed almost entirely by wealthy households and members of Congress, and rising credit card delinquencies, which the Fed found is hammering young and low-income households, is a reminder that while the current economic news seems bright (and is indeed a win for “Bidenomics”), many Americans are still struggling.
“Consumers are struggling with their payments,” said Charlie Wise, senior vice president of global research at TransUnion. “I think we will continue to see those delinquencies tick up.”
69% - The percentage of people across 125 countries who say they’d be willing to contribute 1% of their personal income each month to help fight global warming, according to a new study by researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany.
$1 million - How much prominent climate scientist Michael Mann was awarded in a defamation lawsuit against two right-wing bloggers who accused him of manipulating data and compared him to a child molester.
1,200+ - The number of Cameo videos disgraced/apparently thriving former House Republican George Santos claims to have sold to date, generating hundreds of thousands in income.
Long Video. Learn why Wi-Fi is so bad on planes. (12 min)
Short Video. Watch President George Bush react to Barack Obama’s 2008 victory, and be reminded of just how far the Republican party has fallen. (4 min)
Fun Video. Is this famous painting of a black square “art”? (6 min)
Good Read. Read about Ed Dwight, the man meant to be the first Black astronaut, who’s just now getting his due. (1,892 words; 8 min)
Neat List. Shake off the Mondays with 15 stunning photos of wildlife hanging out in the snow.
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Written by Ryan Wittler