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Good morning and happy Tuesday, Daily Money readers. Jayme Deerwester here with you.
🚨 Inflation rises to 8.5%🚨
Consumer prices climbed further into the stratosphere in March and the only consolation is that this painful bout of skyrocketing costs may have peaked.
Inflation hit a fresh 40-year high as continuing surges in gasoline, food and rent costs more than offset moderating used car prices.
The consumer price index leaped 8.5% annually, the fastest pace since December 1981, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That’s up from 7.9% in February and inflation now has notched new 40-year highs for five straight months. Prices rose 1.2% from their February level, the sharpest monthly increase since September 2005.
Gasoline prices were the chief culprit, jumping 18.1%. Average unleaded gas set a record $4.33 a gallon last month before easing to $4.11 by Monday, according to AAA. Pump prices were up 48% from a year earlier.
📰 More headlines you can’t miss 📰
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HERTZ FALSE ARRESTS: CEO pledges to ‘do right by’ false arrest victims over “stolen” cars.
THE END OF KMART? Just 3 stores remain after another closing.
NOT ME LUCKY CHARMS! FDA investigates reports of illness from cereal.
YOUNG HOMEOWNERS SUCCESS STORY: How one millennial couple fixed their credit and bought their first home.
🏘 Just how bad is the housing shortage? 🏘
It was previously assumed that housing shortages occurred in only certain regions of the United States, such as the Northeast and Midwest. But now “the underbuilding gap extends across almost every major city in the country,” according to a 2021 study, “Housing is Critical Infrastructure: Social and Economic Benefits of Building More Housing,” commissioned by the National Association of Realtors.
The report said the housing unit shortfall ranges between 5.5 million and 6.8 million, despite an annual average of 1.5 million new housing units completed in the U.S. and a 1.7 million spike in 2020 alone. “New construction would need to accelerate to a pace that is well above the current trend, to more than 2 million housing units per year” to close the gap, the report said.
“Even if building were to continue at the current level – the most rapid pace in more than a decade – it would still take more than 20 years to close the 5.5-million-unit housing gap,” the report said.
💲 5 days until taxes are due 💲
Still haven’t filed but looking for a good deal on online tax services? We did some comparison shopping to see what the big names like TurboTax and H&R Block – and lesser-known players like Cash App and TaxSlayer – are charging for federal and state returns this year.
The good news is a few are still free, as long as you have a simple return that includes just W2 income, limited investment income and you plan to claim the standard deduction and student-loan debt interest. (Cash App is totally free as long as you only have one state return.)
Otherwise, by the time you factor in the upcharge for state returns, most prices start around $100 for users who own homes or have investment income, $140 for those with investment properties and other assets, and $170 for business owners.
🎧 Mood music 🎧
Today’s track, Nirvana‘s “Heart-Shaped Box,” goes out to anyone watching the talking heads on TV argue about how how to fix inflation while they try to figure out how they’re to cope with this month’s budget shortfall.
“Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint. Forever in debt to your priceless advice.”
LISTEN WHILE YOU WORK: You can hear just about every song quoted in the newsletter on the Daily Money Mood Music playlist on Spotify.