Good morning and happy Friday, Money readers. Jayme Deerwester, here with you again, preparing for another blast of winter weather tonight.
🗞 News you should know 🗞
Legislation restricting how race is discussed in the workplace was approved by Florida lawmakers and sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis Thursday, paving the way for the first law of its kind in the country.
The measure takes aim at any corporate training that makes employees feel discomfort or distress by suggesting that they are responsible for actions “committed in the past by other members of the same race, color, sex or national origin.”
It is part of a nationwide push to control how issues of race and identity are taught in corporations. DeSantis has made battling “critical race theory” one of his top legislative priorities.
🚨 More stories you shouldn’t miss 🚨
CONSUMERS CUT SPENDING: Skyrocketing gas prices deliver another blow to Americans battered by high inflation.
TRADER JOE’S RECALL: Crunchy Slaw recalled because may contain plastic.
UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS UP: But Layoffs have settled to pre-pandemic levels.
STOP DOOMSCROLLING: How to keep the news from affecting your sleep and affecting your mental health.
COULD YOUR EV POWER YOUR HOME? GM pilot project hopes to turn EVs into on-demand power stations.
💡 Daily insight 💡
When you think about high prices these days, gas is probably the first thing you think of. But last month Americans saw even higher price increases for citrus fruits than gas.
Even before President Joe Biden banned Russian oil earlier this week, Americans paid 6.7% more for gas to fuel cars in February compared to the month before. Meanwhile, citrus fruits last month cost Americans 6.8% more compared to January, according to data from the Consumer Price Index published Thursday.
That’s the highest one-month percentage increase since 2007 when a citrus-killing freeze killed off navel oranges in California, which at the time supplied 95% of the fruit to the country’s navel oranges in the winter, The New York Times previously reported
⛽️ Between a pump and a hard place ⛽️
The cost for a gallon of gas in the United States continues to reach all-time highs, as the national average jumped nearly 7 cents to $4.32 on Thursday. It was also the first time diesel has ever been over $5.
Oil needs to make a number of stops before it’s turned into gasoline that is ready to fill your car’s tank and that journey influences its final price at the pump.
First, crude oil is either imported into the U.S. or produced domestically and moved to a refinery, where it is made into gasoline and other petroleum products. Most gas is then moved via pipeline to large storage terminals before being sent to smaller blending terminals, where it’s processed into finished motor gasoline. Trucks then deliver the gasoline to gas stations.
A gas station’s proximity to those refineries and pipelines plays a big role in the price at the pump. Stations that are farther away pay higher transportation costs to get the gas to the fueling station, which drives up overall costs.
💵 All taxes, all the time 💵
Although it may come as a surprise for many seniors, Social Security benefits are sometimes taxed on the federal level. In fact, seniors lose billions of dollars each year due to the taxes they owe on their retirement benefits. And the amount they’ll have to pay will be much higher in 2022.
While COVID-19 was a factor, the Senior Citizens League says there’s one big reason retirees will pay more than $10.5 billion in additional Social Security taxes in 2022 than they owed the year prior.
“That big jump is primarily due to the rising number of new retirees with higher incomes,” Mary Johnson, a Social Security analyst for The Senior Citizens League, said in a press release.
Another factor that could bump up tax bills this year? Inflation. We’ll discuss inflation’s impact on your taxes in Sunday’s special tax season edition of the Daily Money. (As a subscriber to this newsletter, you’ll automatically receive it.)
🎶 Mood music 🎶
Most of us are feeling the financial squeeze of high gas prices and inflation. So today’s lyrical. selection is “Under Pressure” from Queen and David Bowie: “It’s the terror of knowing what this world is about, watching some good friends screaming, ‘Let me out!.’ Pray tomorrow gets me higher. Pressure on people, people on streets.”
LISTEN WHILE YOU WORK: Remember, you can listen to this song and every track I’ve quoted in the newsletter in the Daily Money Mood Music playlist on Spotify.