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Here's What The Economy Looked Like Then And Now. By Chart #6, I Was Pulling Out My Hair.

Sooo ... the economy seems to be doing better. Depending on how you look at it.

Here's What The Economy Looked Like Then And Now. By Chart #6, I Was Pulling Out My Hair.

Here are the Economic Policy Institute's top 10 charts of 2014.

Could the economy really be on the upswing? Take a look and decide for yourself.

1. Income inequality is flatlining the middle class.

2. People are working A LOT more (for a lot less).

3. The top 1% is doing what they do best: taking all the money.

4. Wages are stagnant for all but the highest earners.

5. CEOs of the largest companies are (still) flush with cash.

6. The minimum wage is way lower than it should be.

7. College students are spinning their wheels on the job.

College women especially.

8. Private-sector employees are getting shafted.

9. Fewer people can afford to go to college.

10. Employers are less likely to offer health insurance to their workers.

This isn't as rosy a picture as we've been getting from the news. But hope should not be lost.

According the the Economic Policy Institute:


"Policy choices led to these trends, and different policy choices can reverse them."

The first policy choice they want to see comes right out of ancient Greece:

Primum non nocere. (First, do no harm.)

By that, they mean the government — the Federal Reserve Bank, specifically — shouldn't do anything that might make the economic situation worse for low- and middle-income people, like raising interest rates and making it harder for people to pay off loans.

They'd also like to see stronger labor standards, wages lifted to where they should be, and a restoration of workers' right to collective bargaining. Because an economy driven by working and middle-class people can't — and shouldn't — carry the weight of a bloated top 1%.

But as we hear more reports of the economy improving, keep asking yourself: How much has really changed?

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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