America's about to become more wealthy - on paper, at least.
That's because the way the country's gross domestic product, or U.S. GDP, is measured will change significantly come July 31, enough to boost the closely watched economic barometer by 3%, or $400 billion.
That translates to the equivalent of about $1,500 more worth of goods and services per person in the United States.
The U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis claims the changes will allow for more consistent comparisons with data for the economies of other nations.
What the revised U.S. GDP, which will apply retroactively to 1929, will really do is make the country look healthier than it actually is.
What it speaks to in my mind is the oldest of all games: It's administrative whitewash, Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald said. If reality doesn't fit your statistics, you adjust your statistics and say, 'Let's make everybody feel good about what we're doing by readjusting the calculations.'
Stock Market Today Reacts to Merger Monday on Wall Street
It was a muted start for U.S. equities when the stock market today (Monday) opened. But by mid-day, the bulls were back and benchmarks marched higher.
Just before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13.41, or 0.09%, to 15,354.40. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 2.54, or 0.15%, to 1,670.01. The Nasdaq was higher by 6.42, or 0.18%, to 3,505.39
Year-to-date, the Dow is up 17.17%, the S&P up 16.92% and the Nasdaq 15.88%. Moreover, the number of stocks in the S&P hitting 52-week highs rose to 37.2%, according to Bespoke Investment Group, proof the rally is indeed broad based.
How the Sequester is Killing Healthcare Jobs
Sequester-driven budget cuts to Medicare are threatening to spur massive job cuts in the healthcare industry.
And the pain doesn't stop there - the sequester cuts are already making healthcare harder to obtain for some Medicare patients.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The longer Congress allows sequestration to continue, the deeper the cuts will go and the more widespread their impact.
When President Barack Obama and Congress failed to reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in cuts to federal spending before March 30 -- as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- the sequester kicked in.
Medicare providers faced mandatory 2% across-the-board reductions in their reimbursements.
After the cuts went into effect on April 1, hospitals, doctors, insurers, prescription drug plans, and other healthcare providers immediately felt the impact.
In short, the sequester is delivering precisely the kind of broad, damaging and indiscriminate cuts that politicians warned would happen.
And as each day passes, the drastic consequences grow worse.
It's Enough to Make Your Blood Boil
Here are two items that will upset you...
First, back in February, Attorney General Eric Holder christened the unofficial official doctrine of "Too Big to Jail."
He told Congress, "The size of some of these institutions [TBTF banks] becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if we do prosecute - if we do bring a criminal charge - it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy."
Of course, it was only the christening of another neat little name.
Healthcare Costs: Same Procedure is $7,000 Here and $100,000 There
When it comes to healthcare costs, Americans have been left in the dark.
Unlike when booking a hotel or buying a new flat-screen TV, Americans haven't had easy access to cost-comparison measures when deciding where to have their medical procedures done.
Turns out, if we had, some of us could have saved tens of thousands of dollars...
Obamacare Facts: Check Out How High Your Premium Rate Will Soar
Here's something from our list of Obamacare facts we've been examining: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was supposed to make healthcare cheaper for all Americans, even free for some.
Facing constant criticism for his landmark healthcare bill, U.S. President Barack Obama continues to preach that new healthcare will indeed lower costs. Just two weeks ago he went so far as to claim that "for the 85% to 90% of Americans who already have health insurance, they're already experiencing most of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act even if they don't know it."
Unfortunately, it's looking increasingly unlikely that's the case.
Symptoms Don't Lie
A good doctor will not simply make a diagnosis based on measurements. The symptoms and complaints expressed by the patient are at least as important in making a determination as the data provided by diagnostic tools.
When the data says one thing and the symptoms continuously say another, it makes sense to question the reliability of the instruments.
This would be particularly true if the instruments are furnished by a party with a stake in a favorable diagnosis, say an insurance company on the hook for treatment costs.
15 Obamacare Facts the President Doesn't Want You to Know
From the first rumblings of a new healthcare law, critics have preached that the real Obamacare facts are far worse than the promises.
The real Obamacare facts include higher healthcare costs, diminished treatment quality, hidden taxes and an inflated deficit.
"Obamacare was a political nightmare for Democrats in the 2010 election. In 2014, it's shaping up to be a political tsunami," Brad Dayspring, a communications strategist for the National Republican Senatorial Committee wrote in a recent email to supporters.
Indeed, President Obama's own party is even having second thoughts.
Exclusive Interview: Protecting Yourself from the Worst of Obamacare
Even its staunchest supporters are beginning to worry it's a "train wreck."
But the truth is there's no fixing it now.
In less than five months, on Oct. 1, the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges will go live online. Soon for millions of Americans, Obamacare will become a reality.
But are you prepared for the changes Obamacare promises to bring? Or are you still completely in the dark?
Stock Market Today: Starting the Week in the Red
The stock market today (Monday) paused on news that a U.S. Federal Reserve policy shift may not be as far away as people think.
Just before noon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was lower by 34.22, or 0.23% at 15,084.27. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was flat at 1,632.97. The Nasdaq eked out a 0.02% gain, or 1.08 points, at 3,438.12.
Last week, equities continued their seemingly unstoppable climb with the Dow and the S&P closing at records several times. The Dow ended the week up 1%, the S&P 1.2%, and the Nasdaq 1.7%.
Now with all three indexes up 15% year-to-date, many investors have turned cautions.