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money

What does a Big Mac combo cost these days?

Even though inflation levels have slowed in the U.S. over the past few months, fast food is one industry where prices keep going up. It seems like there’s nowhere to turn when the places where we used to go to for a deal keep getting pricier and pricier.

According to CBS News, prices at “limited service” restaurants were up 6.2% last year, with America’s most popular fast-food joint, McDonald's, up 10%.

"Our average pricing level in the U.S. business for the full year will be just over 10%," Ian Borden, the company's CFO, stated in an October 2023 earnings call.

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Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

The Sam Vimes "Boots" Theory of Socioeconomic Unfairness explains one way the rich get richer.

Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.

The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.

A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.

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Democracy

This Map Reveals The True Value Of $100 In Each State

Your purchasing power can swing by 30% from state to state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.

As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.

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What a billion dollars looks like in grains of rice.

The high percentage of wealth concentrated in a tiny fraction of hands in America is a big concern for many people. The top 1 percent of wealthiest Americans owned 32.3% of the nation’s total wealth at the end of 2021, while the share of wealth held by the bottom 90% was just 30.2%.

It can be hard to comprehend how much money billionaires have when discussing tycoons such as Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, or Jeff Bezos. So, finance educator Humphrey Yang created a TikTok video to give people a good idea of how much money Jeff Bezos has.

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