Economics in the News - March 29-April 4 How Economics Impacts our lives on a daily basis

Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week related to economics.

"Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." -- Stephen King, author
Large cargo ships holding millions of dollars of goods are stuck offshore due to a disrupted supply chain dating back to the start of COVID-19. The ships are stuck idling and anchoring offshore the Southern California coast waiting for docks to clear at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The two ports handle more than one-third of U.S. imports.

Due to the backlog in the supply chain, ports are handling more ships from month-to-month. The U.S. imported $219.86 billion in goods in January 2021 on a seasonally adjusted basis, about nine percent higher than last year. [The Wall Street Journal]

Sports betting in the United States is gaining in popularity. It’s now legal in nearly half the states and in many of those states users are allowed to make wager money from their smartphone. Bettors can bet on the point spread, how many points are scored, the coin toss, the color of a Gatorade bath and more. According to the American Gaming Association, Americans wagered $13 billion on sports with legal operators.

However, many experts warn that the addiction danger of sports betting is not being adequately addressed. Most adults who bet on sports do so without significant negative consequences. However, most people with a gambling addiction are never properly treated, which frequently leads to financial ruin, broken relationships, and health problems. One percent of Americans have a gambling disorder.. [The New York Times]

President Joe Biden introduced his $2 trillion plan to overhaul and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure. White House officials say that the plan would help create millions of jobs in the short run and aid American competitiveness long term. The plan also accelerates the fight against climate change by encouraging a shift to cleaner energy sources.

The plan includes a wide range of infrastructure projects, including transportation, broadband, the electrical grid, and housing. It provides funds for researching and developing cleaner energy. President Biden proposes paying for the plan by raising corporate taxes over 15 years, mainly from multinationals that earn profits overseas. [The New York Times]

When the Ever Given, one of the world’s largest cargo ships, ran aground and blocked the Suez Canal nearly two weeks ago, it raised awareness that canals need to increase their capacity and that more specialized equipment, such as tugboats, dredgers, and offloaders are needed.

Ships have increased exponentially over the last 15 years to keep up with demand for getting products to ports on schedule. Those within the shipping industry say that more restrictions need to be in place to assist larger vessels and avoid similar problems in the future. [Reuters]

Who doesn’t enjoy a free meal or treat? As Americans and the rest of the world become vaccinated, many companies are offering freebies and discounts to those already vaccinated.

North Carolina doughnut chain Krispy Kreme is offering a free daily doughnut to those that have been vaccinated through the end of 2021. Up-Down, a chain for arcades in the Midwest, is giving away $5 worth of tokens to those that have been vaccinated. Restaurants in Dubai have offered as much as a 20 percent discount, while municipalities in Israel are giving away free pizza and drinks. [The Wall Street Journal]


All images credited to iStock