Economics in the News – Oct. 3-9, 2022
Economics impacts our lives every day. Below are some of the top storylines from this past week related to economics.
o McDonald’s customers can relive their childhood, as the Golden Arches debuted new “boxed meals” for adults that closely resemble Happy Meals. The meals are part of a collaboration effort with Cactus Plant Flea Market and are available for a limited time. McDonald’s wanted adults to reimagine their childhood, ordering a Happy Meal and receiving a toy.
There are two different meal options – a Big Mac and a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets – each coming with a medium fry, a medium drink and a toy. The toys are symbols of iconic McDonald’s characters, while prices will vary by restaurant. [Axios]
o Retirees are expected to receive a major boost to their Social Security benefits. It’s expected that Social Security will soon announce the largest inflation adjustment to benefits in four decades, as many older Americans are struggling to keep up with the increased cost of living. The cost-of-living adjustment in 2023 is likely to be around 8.7 percent.
The boost will benefit more than 70 million Americans next year. An estimated 52.5 million people over the age of 65 draw social security benefits, while 17.9 million low-income Americans also draw benefits. The annual inflation adjustment has been awarded since 1975 under a formula created by Congress. [The New York Times]
o Major League Pickleball (MLP) announced that it had recently received a seven-figure investment from a group of investors, headlined by NBA stars LeBron James, Draymond Green and Kevin Love to purchase a new team. James’ involvement has sparked interest in the league, bringing more than 100 inquiries from interested owners and sponsors, an increase in number of events from three to six, and doubling of prize money for next season.
According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the United States with five million players. Participation jumped 39.3 percent from 2019 to 2021 with 40 percent of players under the age of 35 years old. MLP, already the recipient of some media coverage by CBS Sports Network, has a goal for the sport to reach 40 million players by 2030. [TIME]
o Former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke was among three American economists to receive the Nobel Prize in economic studies for their research into bank failures. Bernanke, Douglas W. Diamond and Philip H. Dybvig were awarded the prestigious honor in Stockholm for laying the foundations for regulating financial markets.
Bernanke studied the Great Depression of the 1930s as a professor at Stanford University, showing the danger of bank runs and how bank collapses led to widespread economic devastation. Diamond, who is based at the University of Chicago, and Dybvig, who is based at University of Washington in St. Louis, showed how government guarantees on deposits can prevent a spiraling financial crisis. [Associated Press]
o The price tag associated with the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian is estimated at more than $100 billion. The Category 4 hurricane caused more than 100 deaths and left communities in a pile of debris. Less than two weeks later, the destruction is becoming a reality for homeowners and residents in Ian’s path.
Homeowners are haggling with insurance companies for costs of repairs. In Florida, only 18 percent of residents have flood insurance, due to the high costs of premiums. CBS’ 60 Minutes explores the road to recovery from the deadliest hurricane in the United States since Hurricane Katrina. [60 Minutes]