September 26, 2018

*MORE! MORE! MORE! 
Americans Spent More on Taxes Than on Food, Clothing Combined in 2017:
Americans on average spent more on taxes than on food and clothing combined in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s new data on consumer expenditures, which was released this month.

“Consumer units” (which include families, financially independent individuals, and people living in a single household who share expenses) spent an average of $9,562 on food and clothing in 2017, according to BLS.

But they spent $16,749 on federal, state and local taxes.

The average 2017 tax bill included $7,819 in federal income taxes; $2,098 in state and local income taxes; and $51 in other taxes—which the BLS rounded to a subtotal of $9,967.

It also included $4,717 in Social Security taxes; and $2,065 in property taxes—bringing the total average tax bill for the year to $16,749.

At the same time, according to the BLS data, the average consumer unit spent $7,729 on food in 2017 and $1,833 on apparel and services—bringing the total average spending for food and clothing for the year to $9,562.

*Drivers for Uber, Lyft are earning less than half of what they did four years ago, study find:
Drivers for online platforms including Uber and Lyft are making less than half of what they did four years ago, even as more and more people are drawn into working for them.

A new report from the JPMorgan Chase Institute, based on payments directed to 2.3 million families, showed that average monthly platform earnings dropped considerably — by 53% — between 2013 and 2017.

These drivers made $783 per month in 2017 versus $1,469 in 2013.

“These declines in monthly earnings among drivers may reflect the fact that the growth in the number of drivers could have put downward pressure on hourly wages; they may also reflect a potential decline in the number of hours drivers are driving,” the report stated.

“Regardless of whether the drop in earnings was caused by a fall in wages or hours or both, it indicates that driving has become less and less likely to replace a full-time job over the past five years, as more drivers have joined the market.”

*National Parks in U.S. Are Warming
Fast and Drying Out:
America’s national parks are warming up and drying out faster than any other U.S. landscapes, a new study has found. The report, published in the journalEnvironmental Research Letters, is the first to examine rainfall and temperatures in all 417 U.S. national parks. It found that, without a substantial reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, national parks will become hotter and more drought-ridden in the decades to come.

“U.S. national parks protect some of the most irreplaceable ecosystems in the world,” the study states, adding that reductions in industrial emissions could “substantially reduce the magnitude” of expected effects.

The study found that, between 1885 and 2010, national parks warmed by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit—twice the U.S. rate—while annual rainfall declined by 12 percent, four times the rate of the U.S. overall.

*German Auto Giant Volkswagen is Pulling
Out of Iran, Says US Ambassador:
In a significant symbolic blow to the Iranian regime, the Volkswagen Group – the world’s biggest selling car manufacturer last year – has reportedly agreed to end almost all of its operations in Iran, in line with the restoration of U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

The news was disclosed by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who since taking up his Berlin posting in May – he presented his credentials on the same day President Trump announced the U.S. was exiting the Iran nuclear deal – has been encouraging the host government to isolate Iran and urging German companies to stop doing business there.

“Volkswagen has told us they will comply with U.S. sanctions on Iran,” Bloombergquoted Grenell as saying. “We are pleased with this decision because Iran diverts its economic resources away from its people to spread violence and instability across the globe.”

*CUT THE CRAP–READ LBN EXAMINER:
Now YOU can invite your friends, family, and associates (if they’ve got the guts) by telling them to go to www.LBNExaminer.com
*EXAMINER–BUSINESS INSIDER:
Starbucks Corp. is planning an organizational shake-up, including corporate layoffs that will start at top levels, as the coffee chain tries to reverse poor sales and rekindle investors’ interest.
*EXAMINER–INVESTIGATES:
TripAdvisor
Up to a third of reviews on TripAdvisor are fake with hotels and restaurants buying positive reviews, it has been claimed. Analysis of tens of thousands of reviews on the site has shown that top rated bed and breakfasts have almost twice as many “false” reviews as lower ranked establishments.

An investigation has found that websites are offering glowing reviews for £38. Others allowed owners to bulk buy reviews for less money, with one offering 10 positive reviews for £69.

One restaurant owner admitted to the paper he had already posted “a large number of positive reviews” but wanted further help to boost his ranking.

*EXAMINER–MUSIC INSIDER:
Céline Dion is saying au revoir to her longtime tenure at Caesars Palace. After eight years at The Colosseum, the 50-year-old songstress will end her residency in 2019. Dion first took the Las Vegas stage in 2011 and is currently set to perform through Jan. 20.
*EXAMINER-SITE OF THE DAY:
Going Somewhere? Read a book set there. Destination Reads is a collection of the best fiction and narrative non-fiction set in popular cities around the world. Curated by literary nomads, with new books and places added every day.
*EXAMINER-INVESTIGATES:
Given that the world is about 25,000 miles in circumference and that the average walking rate is 3 miles per hour, it would take a person walking nonstop approximately 347 days to walk around the world.
*WHO READS LBN EXAMINER?:
Power attorney David Boies along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3Nobel Prize winners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 U.S. Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners.
*EXAMINER–VIDEO LINK:
*EXAMINER–INVESTIGATES:
A mysterious, new “mad snake disease” causes captive pythons and boas to tie themselves in knots. Other symptoms include “stargazing,” which is when snakes stare upwards for long periods of time. Snake experts believe a rodent virus causes the fatal disease.
*EXAMINER–VIDEO LINK:
                 *EXAMINER–READER COMMENT by Jantonio Turner:

Very disappointed in the lead story last week! How about there are 777 college teams (an all time high) compared to 32 NFL teams!!!!! So of course the cumulative attendance of more than 350 games is going to be more than SIXTEEN!!! Don’t sell out trying to make the NFL look bad!  The Biggest single NFL game is still multiples higher than the biggest college game.  And most of those going to college games are also watching NFL games and many go to them too!

*EXAMINER-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….
*EXAMINER–OVERHEARD:
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has a new lady friend. We hear the tech guru, whose net worth is estimated to be $5.9 billion, is dating Sports Illustratedstunner Raven Lyn Corneil.
LBN Examiner Edited By: Renee Preston

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