Daily Digest 12/13 - New Debt Ceiling $20.49T, The New Silicon Valley Paradox
Chicago has spent two decades digging itself into a hole. Back in 2000, the city had racked up $12.3 billion in debt, in current dollars; now, it owes $20.2 billion. Back then, the debt burden per person was roughly $4,400; these days, it's $7,500. Even scarier is what Chicago owes to pensioners: $31.5 billion, up from $5 billion in 2000.
Thirteen pension funds in regions and administrative units around China only have enough money to pay less than one year’s worth of pensions, media reported on Monday, as the country struggles with an aging population and shortfalls in the nation’s pension schemes.
From 2011 to 2015, the city raked in nearly $285 million from red-light cameras, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times. The idea has proved so lucrative that Chicago-area suburbs have installed their own red-light cameras. ABC 7 and the Chicago Sun-Times estimated that Chicago suburbs took in nearly $170 million from 2014 through 2016.
In South Korea, whose borrowing costs were boosted on Nov. 30, household debt has ballooned to about 150 percent of disposable income. It’s an even larger 194 percent in Australia. In China, it’s companies feeling the strain with corporate debt equating to about 160 percent of gross domestic product.
Now, the total national debt will sit at or around $20.493 trillion until Congress agrees to increase or suspend the ceiling again.
He went on to describe an incident in India where hoax messages about kidnappings shared on WhatsApp led to the lynching of seven innocent people. “That’s what we’re dealing with,” said Palihapitiya. “And imagine taking that to the extreme, where bad actors can now manipulate large swathes of people to do anything you want. It’s just a really, really bad state of affairs.” He says he tries to use Facebook as little as possible, and that his children “aren’t allowed to use that shit.” He later adds, though, that he believes the company “overwhelmingly does good in the world.”
Palihapitiya’s critical remarks drew immediate and widespread attention in the media and were printed on the front page of the UK’s Daily Mail. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said. The former Facebook VP, who worked for the company between 2007 and 2011, urged people to consider a “hard break” from social media.
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Florida’s 3rd District Court of Appeal upheld Miami Shores’ ban on front-yard vegetable gardens in a recent decision, so the couple will take their case to the Florida Supreme Court. They argue, on behalf of gardeners everywhere, that the village’s restriction is unconstitutional and an infringement on their property rights.
“That’s what government does – interferes in people’s lives,” Ricketts said. “We had that garden for 17 years. We ate fresh meals every day from that garden. Since the village stepped its big foot in it, they have ruined our garden and my health.”
One in four people in Silicon Valley are at risk of hunger, researchers at the Second Harvest food bank have found. Using hundreds of community interviews and data modeling, a new study suggests that 26.8% of the population – almost 720,000 people – qualify as “food insecure” based on risk factors such as missing meals, relying on food banks or food stamps, borrowing money for food, or neglecting bills and rent in order to buy groceries. Nearly a quarter are families with children.
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