Sky-High Rent & A Soccer Star’s Tax Issues
October 18, 2022
All Work And No Apartment
According to a new survey, most minimum wage workers living in major cities would need to work for over 50 hours each week just to afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment. The survey, conducted by D.C. nonprofit United Way of the National Capital Area, found that only two “major” cities – Tucson, Arizona, and Buffalo, New York – were places where minimum wage workers could work under 50 hours a week and afford a single apartment.
Let’s break down how many hours minimum wage workers need to live in a few major cities. New York City requires 111 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom at its $15 minimum wage. Los Angeles requires 84 hours at $15.96 per hour, Chicago needs 112 hours at $15.40, and San Francisco tops the list with a required 161 hours at $16.99 per hour. The cost of living is causing a crisis across the country. “By August 2020, as many as 12 million households were at risk of losing their homes if the government didn’t act,” said National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Many were among those already struggling to pay rent when the pandemic brought sudden job losses, reduced work hours and higher costs for health care, child care and the internet.”
Though the federal government enacted various emergency measures to combat the pandemic-sparked housing crisis, many of those measures are expiring, leaving renters out to dry as rental housing stocks are lagging behind the demand for housing. “Last year, the cost of rent rose an unprecedented 14% nationally, with some cities seeing rent increases as high as 40%,” said Yentel. “These price increases affect renters of all incomes but threaten the lowest-income renters most.” (CNBC)
Some Good News
- Hearing aids: Americans can now buy them over the counter (CNN)
- Gates Foundation pledges $1.2B to eradicate polio globally (AP)
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Japan’s Shadowy Debt Cult
- On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ordered an investigation into the Unification Church, a South Korean Christian cult, following the death of former prime minister Shinzo Abe. Abe has been linked to the cult in various indirect ways, including speaking at church events. The killer’s mother was also a member of the cult and made a “huge donation” to the group.
- The church was founded by Sun Kyung Moon, a South Korean Christian anti-communist with an addiction to corruption and strong ties with the U.S. – not a new trope to anyone familiar with South Korea. Members are called “Moonies,” a reference to the founder’s name as well as the cult’s alleged use of brainwashing techniques. In 1954, he founded the church after supposedly receiving a vision of Jesus Christ, who told him to bring humanity to a state of “sinless” purity.
- The Moonies grew in number throughout post-war Asia, forming ties with the U.S. and U.S.-backed right-wing East Asian politicians over their shared opposition to communism, including former Prime Minister Nobuske Kishi, Abe’s grandfather. As a side note, that same grandfather was held by the U.S. for three years after World War 2 as a suspected Class A war criminal before being released and propped up as a pro-U.S. Japanese prime minister.
- Kishisda’s call for an investigation comes after almost half of all Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers declared their ties to the Moonies following Abe’s death. He also states that the government has received over 1,700 requests for help from Japanese citizens facing financial struggles and mental health problems caused by the cult. Kishida denies any personal ties to the church and stated that the investigation would begin this year. (Reuters)
Additional World News
- Aircraft crashes into Russian residential building in Yeysk city (Al Jazeera)
- EU slaps human rights sanctions on Iran, warns of more over Ukraine (Reuters)
- More than 600 killed in Nigeria’s worst flooding in a decade (CNN)
- Senator raises alarm Saudis could share US defense technology with Russia (Guardian)
- Russia launches deadly new attacks on central Kyiv using drones (Reuters)
- American Executives in Limbo at Chinese Chip Companies After U.S. Ban (WSJ, $)
- EU creates training mission for 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers (Axios)
“Have no fear of perfection; you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dalí
Bad Faith Bannon
- A new court filing revealed that the Justice Department is asking a federal judge to sentence right-wing extremist and Trump ally Steve Bannon to six months in prison and to pay a $200,000 fine “for his sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress.” Prosecutors said, “From the moment that the Defendant, Stephen K. Bannon, accepted service of a subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, he has pursued a bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt.”
- Bannon was found guilty in July of defying a subpoena from the January 6 committee. The committee issued the subpoena seeking “documents and testimony from the Defendant relevant to a matter of national importance: the circumstances that led to a violent attack on the Capitol and disruption of the peaceful transfer of power” back in September of 2021. Bannon asked that he be sentenced to a period of probation and stay any sentence pending appeal of his conviction. (ABC)
Infectious and Insidious
- Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke with The Guardian for an interview and cautioned against the “insidious” effects of long Covid, warning that declaring the pandemic to be over too soon could have dire consequences. Fauci also urged Congress to resume funding for combating the virus, specifically the research of long Covid.
- The infectious disease expert said that experts estimate that anywhere from 7.5 million to 23 million Americans have developed long Covid, and roughly 1 million people are out of the workforce at any given time. Both the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are carrying out major studies on long Covid.
- There is currently no test for long Covid, but Fauci questioned, “How come someone who is very sharp intellectually and very energetic all of a sudden can’t concentrate for more than half an hour on anything? And how come people who are polished athletes no longer have any exercise tolerance? These are all mysteries that we hope will unfold and uncover some time in the reasonably near future.” (Guardian)
Additional USA News
- Georgia Senate contender Herschel Walker fails to show for key debate (Guardian)
- Burst of cold air: Here is who will see freezing temperatures this week (CNN)
- Eight wounded in shooting near JMU, officials say (WaPo, $)
- Florida Coastal Living Reshaped by Hurricane Housing Codes (WSJ, $)
- January 6 committee member says panel will ask former Secret Service agent to testify again (CNN)
- Radioactive waste found at Missouri elementary school (NPR)
- Fact check: How Democratic ads mislead on four GOP candidates’ abortion stances (CNN)
Kicking The Ball Into Court
- Brazilian soccer star Neymar is on trial over fraud and corruption charges, appearing in court Monday as part of an investigation by Spanish authorities. The 30-year-old soccer (or football) superstar currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain and is set to appear in Brazil’s World Cup effort later this year.
- His career began at Brazilian club Santos before being transferred to Spanish soccer giant Barcelona in 2013 to the tune of $81.2 million. According to Brazilian investment firm DIS, which owned a 40% stake in Neymar’s rights during his time at Santos, Neymar and the case’s other defendants hid the true value of the trade from the firm in order to reduce DIS’ cut in the deal.
- Originally, Santos and Barcelona only reported the deal’s value to be $16.6 million, of which DIS received their 40% cut. However, a Spanish judge later found the deal was worth at least $81.2 million, meaning DIS should be expecting a payday if he’s right. If Neymar is found guilty, he and other defendants could face a two-year prison sentence as well as a $9.7 million fine to the Spanish government. DIS is separately suing for a five-year prison sentence and $32.1 million in fines, as well as a $190 million to the Spanish state. DIS also asked that Neymar not be allowed to play soccer during any punishment period. (WaPo, $)
- ‘Made by white labor’: the vintage Levi’s that point to America’s dark past (Guardian)
- California drivers can now sport digital license plates on their cars (NPR)
- Rock legend Tina Turner is now a Barbie (CNN)
- 2 California bakers create a life-sized Han Solo out of bread (NPR)
- Bright, powerful burst of gamma rays detected by multiple telescopes (CNN)
- NASA Spacecraft Named Lucy Skims Earth’s Atmosphere on Its Way to Explore Asteroids Orbiting Jupiter (People)
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