Americans’ personal debt is higher than pre-pandemic levels – Poynter


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During the pandemic, Americans increased their savings and reduced their credit card balances. It ends as people pay record prices for cars and homes. Credit card and student loan balances are on the rise, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. But credit card balances are still lower than they were in 2019.

“As the pandemic relief efforts draw to a close, we are starting to see the reversal of some of the credit card balance trends seen during the pandemic, namely reducing consumption and paying off balances.” said Donghoon Lee, researcher for the Fed, “At the same time, as pandemic restrictions are lifted and consumption normalizes, credit card use and balances are resuming their pre-market trends. pandemic, albeit from lower levels. “

(Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Even with all this new debt, the New York Fed survey indicates that home foreclosures remain low and likely will remain so until 2022. “The share of mortgage balances over 90 days past due has remained at 0, 5%, “says the Fed report. In fact, all of the categories tracked by the report show fewer people in arrears than a year ago.

The deadline for federal workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs is this week, and thousands of federal workers are asking for an exemption based on their religious beliefs. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just released new guidelines to find out how the exemption will be viewed. Guidance falls under Title VII, the Federal Law on Discrimination in Employment. Title VII “requires employers to accommodate employees’ sincere religious beliefs, practices and observances in the absence of undue hardship.”

The new EEOC guidelines attempt to separate religious beliefs from secular beliefs. The EEOC states that “objections to the COVID-19 vaccination that are based on social, political or personal preferences, or non-religious concerns about the possible effects of the vaccine are not considered” religious beliefs ” under Title VII “.

What is a religious belief? San Diego Union-Tribune undermined Supreme Court rulings to access the main qualifications of a religion:

In a 2002 ruling, the California Court of Appeals identified three attributes that religions tend to have. First, a religion “addresses fundamental and ultimate questions” dealing with “deep and imponderable matters”. Second, a religion is a complete belief system rather than an “isolated teaching”. Third, a religion often has “formal and external signs” such as services or holidays. The appeals court ruled that an employee’s veganism was not comprehensive enough to be characterized as anything other than a personal philosophy.

In 2017, the Philadelphia-based United States Court of Appeals ruled that a hospital employee’s objection to a flu shot warrant was medical, not religious. The employee said in writing that he believed the vaccine would do his body more harm than good. The employee believed that “if he gave in to coercion and consented to the compulsory hospital policy, he would violate his conscience as to what is right and what is not”.

The court said: “These beliefs do not appear to address fundamental and ultimate questions having to do with deep and intangible issues, nor are they exhaustive in nature. In general, (the employee) simply worries about the health effects of the influenza vaccine, does not believe the scientifically accepted view that it is harmless to most people, and wishes to avoid this vaccine. His refusal to be vaccinated because he thinks it could harm him “is a medical belief, not a religious one.”

New EEOC guidelines warn employers to take requests for religious exemptions seriously and not “to assume that an employee is not sincere just because some of the employee’s practices deviate from the principles commonly followed by the employee’s religion, or because the employee adheres to certain common practices. but not the others. The EEOC guidelines say:

The sincerity of an employee’s stated religious beliefs is also generally not in dispute. The employee’s sincerity in having a religious belief is “in large part a matter of individual credibility.”

Factors which, alone or in combination, could undermine an employee’s credibility include: whether the employee has acted in a manner inconsistent with the professed belief (although employees need not be scrupulous in respecting them ); whether the accommodation sought is a particularly desirable benefit that is likely to be sought for non-religious reasons; whether the timing of the request makes it suspicious (for example, it follows a previous request by the employee for the same benefit for secular reasons); and if the employer has reason to believe that the accommodation is not sought for religious reasons.

Employers do not have to be “undue hardship” to accommodate a person’s religious beliefs. For example, an employer would not have to grant paid time off for the duration of the pandemic to people who do not wish to be vaccinated.

Most recent Axios / Ipsos Coronavirus Index shows Americans have had it with COVID-19 and are returning to their pre-pandemic habits.

The majority of Americans say they now view meeting with family and friends, dining out, and shopping in a mall as low-risk, if not risk-free.

If you’ve just read social media or watched local news, you would think the public is about to set state capitals, school board offices, and town halls on fire over local COVID-19 policies. But the latest poll shows people are quite happy with the way governors, local governments, schools and especially local businesses have handled the pandemic.

(Axios / Ipsos)

Six in 10 Americans represented in the Ipsos survey support employers who make vaccinations mandatory, but the survey found that we differ on what to do with people who refuse vaccinations:

  • Support for dismissal of employees who do not comply remains low (14%).
  • Americans are torn over whether nothing should happen (25%),
  • Employers should put them on unpaid leave (23%), or
  • Forcing them to work from home or another location (20%).

Scientific daily points us to a new study that identifies 8 million tonnes of plastic gloves, face masks and other pandemic-era waste and projects it’s heading towards. Most are from Asia.

Starting December 8, people in Singapore who choose not to take the COVID-19 vaccine and become ill will pay their own hospital bills. Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said, “We must send this important signal to urge everyone to get vaccinated if you are eligible.”

Over the past week, Vermont set new state records for COVID-19 cases and a Halloween party in Saint Michel College helped fuel it, state officials say. 77 students tested positive after the party. The school’s website shows the sudden increase in regular test cases on campus:

(Saint-Michel College)

New cases in Vermont increased 51% in two weeks and hospitalizations are also increasing. Experts fear what is happening there could happen across the country as the weather cools and people move indoors for the winter.

(The New York Times)

Dallas Morning News reports that researchers looked at counties with schools that did or did not participate in March Madness. When participating teams and spectators returned from the basketball tournament, cases of COVID-19 increased in their counties in a way that did not occur in counties in the same states that had not attended schools. There is no way to know if the tournament had anything to do with the spread of the virus, or if it was travel or parties. As cases rose among spectators who attended out-of-town games, levels returned to rates similar to those in surrounding counties within weeks.

Just look at this graph of an industry index on used car prices:

(Cox Automobile / Manheim)

Used car prices have gone up over 9% in just one month and prices have gone up 38% breathtaking in the past year. The Manheim Index, which is used by financial and economic analysts, states: “Mid-size cars and vans showed the most significant year-over-year performance, while the light-truck and luxury car segments lagged behind the overall market. On a month-to-month basis, no segment saw a decline with compact cars outperforming the market and the remaining segments. “

Take a look at this graph and see how much used vehicles in each category have increased in price.

(Cox Automobile / Manheim)

The Manheim Index found that used car sales fell 10% last year while new car sales fell 23% last year.

The Marshall Project produced an important investigation that I wanted to be sure you saw to follow you. The report said:

A review of data from six major police departments across the country reveals that nearly 4,000 young people aged 17 and under experienced police violence from 2015 to 2020. Nearly 800 of the children and adolescents – about a fifth of the total – were black girls. White girls were involved in around 120 cases, accounting for just 3% of use of force incidents involving minors.

Marshall’s investigation focused on racial disparities in use of force cases in Chicago, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Columbus and Portland, Oregon. Marshall said: “Several of these departments declined to comment.” So maybe you should rush them for an answer.

The story added a few more points of clarity:

As black communities painfully know, and the researchers detailed, black boys bear the brunt of police violence against minors. This was also true in our data. More than 2,200 black boys have been involved in use of force incidents in the six cities we examined.

But black girls were also a significant part of the cases. In New Orleans, every girl in the use of force data was black; two-thirds of girls who live in cities are black. A police spokesperson pointed out that all incidents except one “involved lower levels of force (hands, disassembly, pointing a gun, etc.)”.

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