How would your family fare? (Many thanks to the reader who sent me the following item.) Suppose your family’s income is $21,000 a year, you owe $142,500, and you add $36,200 of new debt every year. You don’t reduce any of the balances; instead, you borrow the money to make the interest payments. You hold a family council to discuss what you’re going to do about the situation. After a lot of wrangling and mutual accusations, you all agree to reduce your spending by $380 a year. Add nine zeroes to this account, and you’ve just described the situation with our national debt. Does this explain why Standard & Poor’s downgraded our debt?
Avoid this airport. Actually, if you want to avoid machines that can see through your unmentionables and security personnel who think 90-year-old grandmothers might be terrorists, you should probably avoid flying altogether. But if you must fly and want to avoid delays, skip Newark Liberty International Airport. A new study reports that 40 of the 100 most-delayed flights in the country come or go from that airport.
Are airline passengers getting more polite? Yes, according to a 2010 survey of 1,562 North American Travelocity newsletter readers: 93 percent said they help fellow passengers stow heavy bags, 81 percent said they turn off their cellphones when they are told to, and 60 percent said they always wipe the lavatory sink after using it. Still, most respondents ignored the pre-flight safety lectures. Only 28 percent reported giving them their full attention.