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3 Things 5-8-23

Thing One

 

Apple Card Anyone?

 

For those that use credit cards, routinely pay off what they charge each month, and are already in the Apple ecosystem, getting an Apple Card might not be a bad idea.  The Apple Card, which was introduced in 2019, works like most credit cards in that it charges an APR of between 16% and 27% on purchases.  But, in addition to having no other fees of any kind and providing up to 3% daily cash back on purchases, it has introduced an innovation that makes putting one in your wallet worth considering.  See the press release below from Apple last month for details:

 

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“Starting today, Apple Card users can choose to grow their Daily Cash rewards with a Savings account from Goldman Sachs, which offers a high-yield APY of 4.15 percent — a rate that’s more than 10 times the national average. With no fees, no minimum deposits, and no minimum balance requirements, users can easily set up and manage their Savings account directly from Apple Card in Wallet.

 

Savings helps our users get even more value out of their favorite Apple Card benefit — Daily Cash — while providing them with an easy way to save money every day,” said Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet. “Our goal is to build tools that help users lead healthier financial lives and building Savings into Apple Card in Wallet enables them to spend, send, and save Daily Cash directly and seamlessly — all from one place.”

 

Once a Savings account is set up, all future Daily Cash earned by the user will be automatically deposited into the account. The Daily Cash destination can also be changed at any time, and there’s no limit on how much Daily Cash users can earn. To build on their savings even further, users can deposit additional funds into their Savings account through a linked bank account, or from their Apple Cash balance.

 

Users will also have access to an easy-to-use Savings dashboard in Wallet, where they can conveniently track their account balance and interest earned over time. Users can also withdraw funds at any time through the Savings dashboard by transferring them to a linked bank account or to their Apple Cash card, with no fees.

 

The new Savings account from Goldman Sachs builds upon the financial health benefits that Apple Card already offers, with absolutely no fees,5 Daily Cash on every purchase, and tools that encourage users to pay less Apple Card interest — all, while offering the privacy and security users expect from Apple.”

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To be clear, we are not suggesting getting a credit card if you’re not intending on paying the balance off monthly.  But if you are, having one that not only pays you cash back, but also automatically transfers your cash back rewards into a high yield savings account – that you can also use as your general savings account- makes a lot of sense.

Thing Two

 

  It’s Not Just Math And It’s Not Just Baltimore

 

A few weeks ago, we shared the story about the sad state of affairs in Baltimore Schools with a post that contained the headline, “23 Baltimore Schools Have No Students Proficient In Math”. As it turns out, and as expected, it’s not just math and it’s not just Baltimore where fundamental learning for young people has gone off the rails.  Below are some key passages from a recent Wall Street Journal Report:

 

“Eighth-graders’ test scores in U.S. history and civics fell to the lowest levels on record last year, according to Education Department data released Wednesday.

 

In the first release of U.S. history and civics scores since the start of the pandemic, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation’s Report Card, showed a decline in students’ knowledge that reversed gains made since the 1990s…

 

Test scores are categorized as either below basic, basic, proficient or advanced. The percentages of students in 2022 who performed below basic levels worsened in both U.S. history and civics, with four in 10 eighth-graders scoring below basic levels in U.S. history, according to federal data. Those students were unable to correctly identify basic concepts such as the difference between indentured servants and slaves.

 

According to the data, 31% of eighth-graders performed below basic level in civics in 2022, indicating those students were unable to correctly answer questions asking them to identify basics such as common characteristics shared by all constitutional governments…”

 

This is the most pressing crisis in our country.  And it’s the one that human intervention can have the most impact on.  But it is also the one that politicians have the least desire to address for reasons that become clear when you remind yourself that a politician’s primary job is to get elected.  Then, when you follow the money, which is necessary in large quantities to win elections, you learn that teachers unions, which are more concerned with getting their favorite politicians elected than they are with educating kids, spend more of it than any other group does on political campaigns.  When enough of those favored politicians get elected with the financial help of the unions, the status quo, which is the desired state for teachers unions, is defended.  But, while the status quo means things stay the same for the teachers unions, as we have seen in Baltimore and the rest of the country, things don’t stay the same for the country’s children.  They get worse. 

 

We can survive as a country without obsessing over race or sexual orientation in the classroom.  But we can’t survive as a country if we don’t do what is necessary to arrest and reverse the current trend in public education. 

 

Despite their pronouncements to the contrary, our public servants actually do us a disservice when they stand against children having choices in how, where, and by whom they are educated.  Protecting a failing school from closure may save some teachers from having to look elsewhere for employment (by the way, if they are good teachers, they won’t have to look hard since the same number of kids still need educating), but it dooms thousands of kids to life on the lower rungs of society. 

 

It’s time for a crisis pivot.

Thing Three

 

Just A Thought

"There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice." - Montesquieu 

 


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