Recent polls suggest that Republicans and Democrats have slightly different tastes that have nothing to do with politics.

If you like cats, The Beatles, and Starbucks, you tend to vote Democrat. If you're into Toby Keith, Budweiser, and Dunkin' Donuts, you tend to vote Republican.

But an interesting new quiz claims to be 98 percent effective at determining people's political affiliations by asking questions that have zero to do with politics.

Click here to take the quiz.

So how does it work? (Don't read the answer if you haven't taken the quiz yet.)

According to ChartsMe, recent studies have found that people who were more prone to disgust are more conservative. This leads them to more closely align with the Republican Party.

Some scientists believe it's ancestral and that the adverse reactions to conditions we'd label “disgusting" were used to protect primitive ancestors from contamination and disease. This way a person wouldn't confuse drinking water with dirty pond scum. But if the test told you that you're a Republican, you probably won't accept that explanation because studies show you probably don't believe in evolution.

Click here to take the quiz.

This article originally appeared on 08.09.18


Urban planner shares a simple and proven way to cut rents in half

“Housing is ultimately for people, not profits.”

Why is one building so much cheaper?

Over the past few years, one of the most significant contributors to the increase in the cost of living in the U.S. has been skyrocketing rent and housing prices. A big reason for the rise is the lack of housing supply. Estimates show that Americans need to build around 6 million more housing units for supply to meet demand.

If we are going to build more housing units, About Here’s founder urban planner Uytae Lee, suggests that the U.S. and Canada focus on building more non-market co-op units.

He lays out his theory in a video entitled “The Non-Market Solution to the Housing Crisis.”

To illustrate his point, he highlights two apartment buildings side by side in the up-and-coming Olympic Village neighborhood in Vancouver, Canada. In one building, the average rent for a 2 bedroom is $4,500. However, in the building across the street, a 2-bedroom unit only costs $1900 a month.

“So how is this building so affordable? Well, it's really quite simple. It doesn't make money,” Lee says. “This building is owned by the Athletes Village housing co-op, a non-profit cooperative. Like the name suggests, the co-op isn't trying to make a profit from this building. So it sets rents that only cover the building's operating costs, things like heat, water, electricity, taxes, mortgage payments and maintenance.”

“The building next door is a condo that is owned by an individual or corporation who very much wants to make some money from their housing,” Lee continues. “So they can rent it out for well really whatever price they can get. Any money they make on top of their operating costs is the profit they can pocket for themselves.”

Co-ops are often owned by charities, churches and nonprofit organizations that understand housing is a need and want it to be part of their larger mission. There are co-ops for various demographics, whether seniors, refugees, or college students.

If a private building owned by a landlord were constructed simultaneously, their rents would be similar. However, a co-op can lower rent over time while market pressures and profit motives drive the private building upwards.

As market value in a neighborhood increases, landlords raise rent. However, co-ops keep rent at the same level as long as costs remain stable. Further, after the mortgage on the co-op is paid off, its expenses are drastically reduced so that the rent can be lowered.

“Non-market housing promises a home at a stable price right now and an affordable price in the long term,” Lee says.

When there is an abundance of co-ops in a given area, they also have a positive effect on market housing. Lee cites Vienna as an excellent example of non-market housing keeping market rents low. “Private landlords have to compete with non-market housing for the same tenants. They can't afford to inflate the rents because people will apply for the non-market housing next door, where rents can be as low as €551 a month.”

Just as there are barriers to building large private housing projects in North America, building non-market housing also has its problems. The first is cost. Finding non-profits or government agencies willing to fund an entire apartment building is tough. It’s also hard to get housing projects approved when co-ops have to go up against NIMBYs and housing zoning regulations.

“I think first and foremost we need to change these rules and make it easier to build housing in general,” Lee says.

In the end, Lee believes co-op housing isn’t a magic bullet that will solve all our woes. But it should be an integral part of a larger solution. “I think we should be treating all market housing as an important counterbalance,” Lee says. “Something that limits people's ability to exploit the housing shortage in two key ways: adding more supply and setting rents that help to stabilize the overall housing market — sending a reminder to all of us that housing is ultimately for people, not profits.”


'We're not living, we are surviving': Inflation is making people rethink consumer culture

"We are finding new ways to define success and we are building communities."

"How are people affording life right now?"

Inflation has strained countless American households, forcing many to ask each other the big question: “How are people affording life right now?” A TikTokker named Loc_Rants responded by reframing the current moment into something more hopeful.

They believe we can get through challenging times by turning away from consumerism and focusing on what matters.

Loc_Rants describes themself as a “non-binary Christian Commie” and regularly creates videos on how economic life for the Average American has changed over the years.

The video begins with TikTokker Blaire Allison asking how people can afford to live right now, to which Loc responded, “We can't afford life, so we've just stopped buying things, which is delightful because companies don't know what to do about that,” Loc said in a video that’s been seen over 1.3 million times.

She then noted that older generations had credit cards with much lower interest rates so it was a little easier to get by during tough times. She’s right in saying that interest rates on credit cards were lower in the past, but her 2 to 3% quote is much lower than history would indicate.


#stitch with @Blaire ✨ Allison #millennial #america

However, she’s spot on when she says that credit card interest rates are too high these days. The latest data from Bankrate shows that the average retail credit card interest rate is at a record high of 28.93%. “We're not going to put things on our 24% interest rate credit; we're not gonna do it,” Loc said in their post.

Even though the topic of Loc’s post seems bleak, it comes with a silver lining. The current economic environment allows people to rethink their relationship with American consumer culture and find value in things that matter, such as family and community.

“So we're not we're not living, we are surviving and we are finding new ways to define success and we are building communities,” Loc says. “We're staying home and we're going to our local libraries and we are just hand making things and it's gonna be what it's gonna be.”

Like many people, Loc’s Christmas gift to her family this year is her presence and that should be more than enough. “This year, my Christmas present to my family is the plane ticket to get there,” they said.

The post resonated with many in the comments who are making significant changes to their spending habits due to inflation. "We're quiet quitting consumerism," Smcsparrow wrote. "Previously buying brand new stuff, but right now just rather spend it on thrift stores to at least have stuff," Monique added.

"I’m thrifting most things and avoiding retail stores like the plague," MsSunshine58 wrote.

Even though inflation has posed a significant challenge to millions of Americans, Loc’s video provides a realistic ray of hope. Many of us may be in survival mode, and even though it isn’t optimal, it offers the opportunity to find joy in handmade and personal experiences and to realize that success and happiness come in many different packages.

A TikTok post about McDonald's prices and President Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the Moving America Forward Forum.

Sometimes, there are images that perfectly encapsulate a moment in time. In December 2022, a viral TikTok video featuring a burger meal at McDonald's that cost a whopping $16.10 went viral, and to many Americans struggling through inflation, the image rang true.

Topher Olive posted the TikTok video on December 10, 2022, showing a burger, large fries, and a large Coke that cost $16.10.

The price of a value meal at McDonald’s is something that every American understands. The Economist even uses the Big Mac sandwich as a tongue-in-cheek way of measuring the purchasing power between countries.

Surely, if a McDonald’s burger meal was becoming too expensive for the average American to eat for lunch every day, then the country must be headed in a disastrous direction. The image was the perfect weapon for those looking to blame President Biden for his handling of the economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TikTok video was shared across social media and on Reddit, Newsmax, the Washington Examiner and The New York Post.

However, the TikTok video posted by Olive was a bit misleading, and some major media outlets didn't provide proper context during their coverage.


#prices #inflation #laborshortage #fastfood

The item pictured in the meal was a limited-edition “smoky” double quarter pounder BLT. The “smoky” quarter pounder BLT is known as the “most expensive” single patty burger on the McDonald’s menu, and this guy ordered a double.

According to McDonald's, the “smoky” double quarter pounder BLT is two slices of melty American cheese, thick-cut Applewood Smoked bacon, fresh Roma tomatoes, shredded lettuce, smoky sauce—and two quarter-pound patties all served on a toasted sesame seed bun. It sounds tasty, but it also sounds a bit more expensive and ingredient-heavy than a Big Mac, which currently costs the average American $5.15.

The image was so influential that it was flagged by the White House Office of Digital Strategy, and it had no idea how to push back against the viral story. “What are we supposed to do, tell the president or Chuck Schumer to send a tweet saying, ‘Hey, most Big Macs aren’t that expensive?’ It would look ridiculous,” an anonymous Democratic official told The Washington Post.

The McDonald’s story further proves that it is nearly impossible to create a coherent national narrative when misleading information spreads faster than facts. As the country dives headfirst into the 2024 election cycle, the story is an excellent reminder for all of us to be skeptical of what we see being passed around online or to at least look a little closer at the receipts when provided.

Even though the McDonald’s story was misleading, it doesn’t mean that it will be easy for the Biden White House to paint a rosy picture of the economy for the average American. According to J.P. Morgan, the economy is performing "better than expected," consumer spending is "resilient," interest rates are stabilizing, inflation is improving and the unemployment rate is low.

But those abstract ideas are complex to communicate when the average American spends about $700 more monthly than they did 2 years ago.