1. The proportion of U.S. student loan balances that are in delinquency (unpaid for 90 days or more) surpassed that of credit-card balances in Q3 for the first time ever, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, via CNBC.
2. It’s no surprise that college tuition has increased 1,120% since 1978 when the number of college administrators has increased by 60% from 1993 to 2009, 10 times the growth rate for tenured faculty, via the Business Week article “The Troubling Dean-to-Professor Ratio.”
3. Another Arthur Laffer moment: It’s also no surprise that almost two-thirds of the UK’s millionaires disappeared (left the country or found ways to reduce their taxable income) after the top tax rate went to 50% in 2009. Also no surprise the higher tax rate led to lower, not higher, tax revenue by about $11 million.
4. Update on the legal troubles of the Massachusetts hotel owner whose family hotel is being targeted by the government under a federal drug-forfeiture law: The trial ended in early November and owner Russell Caswell (and ancillary victim of the U.S. Drug War) testified that he has never been fined, cited, arrested or told he could be in trouble for any third-party drug activity at hotel. He’s optimistic about the outcome, especially because the judge said at trial that she had “serious concerns” about the government’s case and its interpretation of the law.
5. Wall Street Journal – “The U.S. housing market, which plunged the economy into recession five years ago and was a persistent drag on the recovery, is now a key economic driver at a time when other sectors are slowing. An improving housing market is buoying consumers’ spirits and giving the economy its biggest lift since the real-estate boom. Macroeconomic Advisers projects the economy will grow at a 1.4% annual rate in the fourth quarter, with housing contributing 0.4 percentage point. IHS Global Insight is projecting a 1% growth rate, with housing contributing 0.53 of a percentage point—the largest contribution since 2005 (see chart below).”