Hot Topics: Debt-Ceiling Talks Take in Social Security
With negotiations over raising the national debt ceiling reaching a fever pitch, Social Security became a bargaining chip this week.
U.S. News and World Report says that President Obama and members of Congress have begun looking at the annual cost-of-living increases built into Social Security and other tax and spending programs as a potential source of future savings. "Adjusting the consumer price index, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to determine how much the cost of living goes up each year, could save hundreds of billions of dollars for the federal government," Alex Parker writes. "It is reportedly among the ideas being discussed during the closed-door debt-ceiling negotiations."
Obama appeared to up the ante on Tuesday when he told CBS Evening News that failure to raise the debt ceiling in time for the Aug. 2 deadline could endanger Social Security checks. "I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue," Obama said. House Speaker John Boehner countered on Fox News that he doesn't believe the checks would be delayed.
The Furor Over Netflix: The subscription movie service created a firestorm when it announced price changes for its combination streaming and mail plans. What many people saw as a price hike led to outrage vented through social media of all kinds. But others pointed out that people who choose just one delivery method will actually save money. Want your movies by mail? You'll pay $7.99 a month for one movie at a time, compared with the old price of $9.99 for the combined service. Likewise, if you're over snail mail and are just streaming your movies, you'll see a $2 a month reduction to $7.99. Rick Aristotle Munarriz, writing on AOL's "Daily Finance" site, reminds people that alternatives exist, including Hulu for streaming and Redbox for DVDs.
But Why Stay Home? This summer's crop of new releases in theaters includes some movies actually aimed at the over-40 crowd. SecondAct reviewer Patrick J. Kiger says Midnight in Paris, Larry Crowne and Beginners provide good reasons to get out of the house and go to the movies.
Women's Soccer Coach Uses Her Head:
The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, coached by Pia Sundhage, a 51-year-old Swede, meets Japan in the finals of the Women's World Cup on Sunday. Sundhage is a former star player in her homeland who took over the American team in 2007, leading the squad to a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. She is widely credited with changing the team's style of play to allow players to keep up with other countries that are newly focused on the women's game. The final, in Frankfurt, Germany, will be shown on ESPN at 2 p.m. EDT.
Upbeat Boomers Say They're Not Old Yet: The 77 million baby boomers celebrate their 47th through 65th birthdays this yeat. Younger adults call 60 the start of old age, but boomers are pushing that number back, according to a new Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll. "The median age they cite is 70. And a quarter of boomers insist you're not old until you're 80," according to this USA Today report on the poll.
Entrepreneur and Family Set Sail: Financial consultant Scott Leonard, wife Mandi and their three young sons left Florida on schedule this week aboard their 50-foot catamaran, Three Little Birds, headed for the Bahamas and the first leg of a planned three-year cruise."It would be an understatement to say we are seriously sleep-deprived, emotionally exhausted and excited all at the same time," Scott Leonard writes in the family's blog. As detailed in this recent SecondAct post, the Southern California family plans to spend the next few months in the Southern Caribbean before heading through the Panama Canal and, eventually, to Tahiti, New Zealand and beyond. They are anchored in West Bay, New Providence Island.
Website of the Week: The latest player in the flash sale site game, Fab.com, brings high design to the masses, with daily deals of up to 70 percent off unique designer goods. You'll find all the essentials here, including furniture made from vintage suitcases, crazy-modern light fixtures and brightly colored toilet paper.
Last Word:Gilligan's Island was "my version of a social microcosm, where seven people from various backgrounds had to learn to live together." -- Writer Sherwood Schwartz, creator of the iconic 1960s TV shows Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch. Schwartz, who also wrote the lyrics to both shows' memorable theme songs, died this week at 94.
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