Hey there, money nerds. It’s Thursday, and today we have a variety of top money stories from around the interwebs.
Academic study: There’s a difference between the sewage in wealthy areas and the sewage in poor areas. [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences] — “Our study shows that chemicals in wastewater reflect the social, demographic, and economic properties of the respective populations and highlights the potential value of wastewater in studying the sociodemographic determinants of population health.” Holy shit!
TurboTax’s 20-year fight to stop Americans from filing their taxes for free. [ProPublica] — “The success of TurboTax rests on a shaky foundation, one that could collapse overnight if the U.S. government did what most wealthy countries did long ago and made tax filing simple and free for most citizens. For more than 20 years, Intuit has waged a sophisticated, sometimes covert war to prevent the government from doing just that, according to internal company and IRS documents and interviews with insiders.”
U.S. median household income is at an all-time high. [Accidental Fire] — “Economists on both sides of the argument as to whether middle class incomes are stagnant have been accused of cherry picking their data. Fair enough. But what none of them seem to talk about is that the middle class is living better than ever in 2019.”
Are cash-back credit cards better than points cards? Quite possibly, yes. [The Lean House Effect] — “In this comparison, I want to show you that even though you’re getting lots of flights with your rewards, you would be able to buy all those flights and more with your cash back.” [This article is from a Canadian perspective, but the same principles apply to the U.S.]
Today’s final link has zero to do with personal finance. But I like it. It’s an interesting eight-minute video on the lost art of paste-up.
In the olden days — like thirty years ago — newspapers and magazines were assembled by cutting and pasting artwork and stories onto pages that could then be photographed for publication. Many of our modern computer metaphors (“cut”, “paste”, etc.) are derived from this process.
I have fond memories of many hours spent in high school (and church youth group) doing manual paste-up for newsletters, newspapers, and magazines. It was tedious work, but made better in the company of friends. By college in the late 1980s, though, digital layout had supplanted scissors and glue.
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