If you thought oil speculators as the reason behind the historic gas prices spikes of this summer was debunked, think again. From ’07 to when the price of oil collapsed, supply increased and demand dropped. According to basic economic theory, this should’ve meant the price went down. But all of a sudden an influx of capital, an infusion that brought the total at play from $13 billion to $300 billion, brought to market by large investment bankers, exploiting de-regulation and trading in black box private exchanges made possible by Enron, drove the price of oil from $69 to almost $150. A new 60 Minutes report explores the issue. Video inside.
Not all money is created equal. It costs retailers extra in fees when you use a credit card, a costs that gets passed right back to you in the form of higher prices, and how much that is depends on which credit card you use. To see how much more expensive your credit card is making life, enter the first 6 digits of your credit card over at truecostofcredit.com, a mashup developed by reader Sean Harper and his friend. This is the bank identification number and cannot be used to steal your credit card, so don’t worry. If you rather not do that, you can also see the results for an AMEX, a debit card, Mastercard rewards card, or a Visa rewards card. Of the project, Sean writes:
Leverage leverage leverage. Everyone’s talking about it, but what does it mean?
We’ve heard lots about how mortgages get turned into tradeable securities, but they’re not the only thing. No no no, there was far too much Chinese money not able to earn anything on T-bonds for us to let them lie. Credit cards can become asset-backed bonds too. Marketplace’s Paddy Hirsch is back with his whiteboard and dry-erase markers to explain how it works. Video inside.
Did you know that gas price gouging almost never occurs as prices rise? Rather, it’s most often when dealers keep prices artificially high even as their costs fall. As gas costs were near $5 a gallon until falling and oil companies earn around $100 billion each year, it’s a good time to question what really goes into the price of gas. The numbers on the gas station sign hide a complex set of transactions. Before gas can power your car, it must be discovered as crude oil, traverse three markets, and be refined from crude into gas. Inside, we’ll explain the three markets, walk you through the role of refineries, and show how oil companies use creative tactics to manipulate gas prices…
There’s a lot of funky financial terms getting thrown as we try to explain how the money meltdown started in the first place, and one of the funkiest is a CDO or “collateralized debt obligation.” Luckily, Paddy Hirsch from Marketplace is here to explain it using just champagne glasses, a whiteboard, and a sexy British accent..
A lot of blame has sloshed around for the sub-prime meltdown, from greedy borrowers to greedy mortgage brokers to Alan Greenspan, but if you want the real culprit, it was the repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act. On November 12, 1999, the champagne must have been shooting from the walls at Citigroup, which had worked behind the scenes for over 30 years to get the act overturned. After recovering from their hangover, they and their banking buddies went on a sub-prime lending orgy. But what was Glass-Steagall and how did it use to protect us?
False reports have circulated that the stimulus checks are an advance on your tax rebate and were going to cut into your tax rebate. That’s not the whole story. Yes, it’s an advance, but it’s an advance on an additional credit Congress passed for your 2008 earned income. It’s too late to do that for 2007, seeing as it’s already over. “So the government is making me borrow from myself?!?!?” No. Congress is giving your 2009 self a $600 credit, and is sending that $600 back in time by one year.
Minimum Advertised Price is an agreement between suppliers and retailers stipulating the lowest price an item is allowed to be advertised at. If you’ve ever tried to shop around and keep nosing up against the same number, you may have just discovered that good’s MAP. This is why sometimes you see signs that say “price too low to advertise!” Or why when shopping online, sometimes the price doesn’t show up until further in the transaction process. Retailers can incur sizable fines and/or penalties from their suppliers for violating MAP contracts.
A former Best Buy employee and Consumerist tipster in good standing shared some insider insights about why store employees are so zealous in checking your receipt, and so zealously underinformed as to how they have no legal right to make you show it.
GRA TV unit with casters. It turns out IKEA actually has funky a system based on names of stuff from its native lands, says ahundredmonkeys.com.
While we’re talking about IDT Energy and Con Ed and Midtown Promotions and DS-MAX, let’s learn about another acronym, ESCos, which stands for “energy service companies” (the kind of company IDT Energy is).
“Tare” or “tare weight” is the weight of an empty container. Tare is not included in a goods’ net weight. So, for instance, 32-oz jar of mayo on the supermarket shelf should actually weight more than two pounds.
Did you know that gas price gouging almost never occurs as prices rise? Rather, it’s most often when dealers keep prices artificially high even as their costs fall.
How Companies Collude With Reporters To Control When Stories Get Published: Embargoed Press Releases
Have you ever noticed how a new product comes out and a well-developed article with multiple quotes and sources appears in all the major papers? Are reporters just so Olympian in their competitiveness, performing at levels differing only by a few milliseconds? If only. Often, this shows an “embargoed” story, a technique corporations use to control the media and public perception. Here’s how it works.
Dollar cost averaging (DCA) is a method of investing whereby you spend a fixed amount on a stock per month, regardless of price.